how many winter birds have arrived at the empty feeder
since you broke your arm, and what do you say
when your father asks, again, who are these strangers
watering your mother’s lily-of-the-valley? uprooting
our centennial tree? is it only politeness that stops you
from reminding him that he is dead, that this moment
is a dream, and by the way it is certainly not summer?
an immigrant, he could never accept that life below zero
is ordinary, that any phenomenon, repeated fifty times,
becomes your life. do you think you are special? do you think
it is only your own husband, who, looking
over your shoulder as you write a poem, mistakes
its shape on the page for a grocery list and believes
you’re planning to surprise him
with a birthday dinner?