by Lisel Mueller
This year spring and summer decided
to make it quick, roll themselves into one
season of three days
and steam right out of winter.
In the front yard the reluctant
magnolia buds lost control
and suddenly stood wide open.
Two days later their pale pink silks
heaped up around the trunk
like cast-off petticoats.
Remember how long spring used to take?
And how long from the first locking of fingers
to the first real kiss? And after that
the other eternity, endless motion
toward the undoing of a button?
The poems reprinted here appear in Lisel Mueller's Alive Together (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1996). Copyright � 1996 by Lisel Mueller. Used with the author's permission.