A Walk in March


It’s a brilliant, coat-opening day,

early cool overcast pulled away

by wind as though snapping

sheets that draped blue sky.


I startle a bluebird on the ground

(ground is the best place

to sight a bluebird’s

blue-star fanburst).


A bristling two-inch plug of darkness

inches along the path.

Dear God, what is a woolly

bear caterpillar doing out

in northern Wisconsin

on the 27th of March?


Often I set them to the side

of traffic, but who will lift

any of us now from the road-

way of what’s approaching,

of our own making?


I am afraid that if we watch

them die and do nothing

a part of us will decide

to die too.


We die in any case,

but if we do nothing

sadder and sooner.



Thomas R. Smith
Illustration: Claire Palmer

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