This confusing winter
wild with early grass,
the tree refuses to surrender
its last leaves.
I watch the pink hybrid tea
bending toward the ground
and remind myself,
for the third day in a row,
to prune.

Up high in my window view
the acacia buds break open,
too soon it seems,
but probably not.
The bouganvillea sprawls
across the wet fence,
its leaves washed clean,
lovelier – and happier I think –
for winter.

I make the hazardous walk
across the yard,
slimey with unraked leaves,
to pluck the first berry of the year
from my ever-bearings
and compose a January list:
cover the compost,
put the lawn furniture in the shed.

Things change shape in winter,
courses of direction shift,
my back yard trees nearly naked
in who they are,
their branches beaded with pods.
But what is true to the oaks
is still true,
and the hawks
still cry out.