On Spring and Renewal
They’re so much about place and time. An email
I open in New York tells me my library
card needs renewal, but in a place
where I no longer live. Life is local
and I’ve lost that address, can no longer show
a recent utility bill mailed to me in
Morgan Hill, California. My access to all libraries
in Santa Clara County is nearly dead.
This year, February brought spring as usual
to my native land, the Bay Area.
Cherry blossoms expanded time,
while, in Ukraine, bombs reduced
it to an instant. On the West Coast,
no one could stop spring from renewing,
west of Russia, hostilities. I watched them
expand on TV, in my living-room overlooking
the icy Hudson, saw over and over how
when death takes over the house, a body
can only stand, in place, and try to kill it. Or run,
to a place where time can last longer.
Early in the last century, my grandparents
and their children fled pogroms in Odessa
for life in New York, then Nebraska, Iowa,
Minnesota, and, last stop, California, where
spring was rumored to be eternal. Today
on my screen a teddy bear lives in the hand
of a child recapturing time, step by step
across snowy ground, walking away
from war, toward spring, unable to stop either.
Catherine Gonick’s poetry has appeared in journals including Notre-Dame Review, The Forge, New Verse News, and Sukoon, and in anthologies including in plein air, Grabbed, and Rumors, Secrets & Lies: Poems about Pregnancy, Abortion & Choice . She is part of a company that fights global warming through climate repair and restoration projects around the world.