Honeyed warmth onto the grateful neighborhoods,
Coaxing the hyacinths and crocuses into
The greening light of new-leaving trees,
The men take off their shirts.
Baring pale winter flesh sprouting its dark tendrils,
They stretch and strut and run out onto the paths,
Raise their hairy arms to the skies,
Shed their long pants, their socks, their winter paces.
Throwing open the garage bays, they mow and rake and seed,
Tune up their bikes, their breathing, their brains,
Celebrate the retreat of cold with their whole body-beings,
Without thought of unfitness, or flab, or suppressed instinct.
The women, on the other hand, greet the sun
With a wild pent-up grieving for lost opportunities—
Tightening of muscles, shedding of pounds,
Abnegation of the flesh and its hungers.
After long months of hibernation
In heavy woolens, dark layers,
Vacillations of refusal of the flesh
Beneath, and stoking the envious spark
Within, their spirits are weary
With disappointments. They drive
Past, watching, filled with desire
Mary for the Poplar Grove Muse