Spring Comes to Tonawanda Street
by Sandra Kohler

Here on Tonawanda Street, the drunk
mechanic’s wife is launching rafts of pansies.
In other yards, tulips’ scarlet and gold,

azalea’s coral bursts, columbine, creamy
white rhododendron, creeping phlox, scent
of dogwood, drifts of lilac. Gingkos leafing

out: pale green fans, butterflies. Beneath
them, my dog, ball in his mouth, rolls in
the new grass. We start our walk in air

that feels like rain but isn’t, all imminence,
held breathy hush, a medium for growth.
Tonawanda, Waldeck; a few blocks further,

on Tremlett Street, the big neglected yards
surrounding big neglected houses, stands of
wisteria clinging to porches, roofs, tall old

lilacs reaching the second floor bedrooms,
where sleeping, you’d wake to their scent,
look out onto grass shadowed by seablue

swathes of grape hyacinth, clumps of white
star of Bethlehem springing up along verges,
rhododendron’s tropical abandon screened

by sprawling forsythia. A yard where in
one corner a skinny white magnolia, like
the shyest girl, breaks into blossom.


Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 19, Issue 1.

Sandra Kohler’s third collection of poems, Improbable Music, appeared in May, 2011 from Word Press. Her previous books are The Ceremonies of Longing (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2003), and The Country of Women (Calyx Books, 1995).

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