Saturday, April 2, 2011

Late Winter, Detroit

Robins return
before spring

wraps warmth
around the city

the cold core
of abandoned fealty

thaws to mud
softens with songs

schoolchildren play
hoops and holler

in fenced spaces
across the street

from burnt husks
of buildings no longer

meant for living
here we inhale

exhaust and longing
for the strange

orange dusk
the cusp of day

the sleeves
of overwintered

sweaters come
undone at seams

are shed
shells washed

up by the polluted
river where we wade

wet as dawn
and listen

for those songs
the birds bring

with them the thaw
comes slowly

slipping in overslept
visions of vitality

our ears perk up
awakened by trills

and chirps
we change

water into wine
and divine

leave-taking what

we can no longer
believe of gods

we cleave
to the swell

of robin’s breasts
restless in our waking

pulling back
the pitch black

dead chill
and calling

like baby birds

hungry for warm-
nested living.

© Ami Mattison

Photo courtesy of Andreas Trepte


  1. Awesome! It really takes off with those burnt husks. Love those sweaters and the cusp and wet as dawn. Come on, spring!

  2. whew the cadence, breaking it into twos sets that nicely and some fun alliteration along the way and off rhymes like husk cusp...crack that birds breast and lets sing spring...smiles.

  3. "Robins return before spring" so true! Was just thinking that yesterday morning. After reading this poem I don't dare post mine. I also love the cadence!

  4. The couplets are a great vehicle for the message here, AM. They remind me of the little hops a robin takes as it explores and searches for food, it's head cocked to one side, listening for those subtle movements of earthworms beyond any human ear. The poem too seems to listen its way through the landscape and pull out the images it feeds on for us to share. Very nicely done.

  5. I have to reluctantly disagree with my witchly colleague...I don't like the couplets.

    But I do like:

    "slipping in overslept
    visions of vitality"

    and the really excellent ending lines. You are definitely the Queen of Endings, woman.

  6. Hi there, your poem is fantastic and what's great is that it's warmed me up out here in the frigid midwest. We might ge spring early to mid-June.