The second-cruelest month

3 Apr

April is actually the second-cruelest month.
For this March tricks the buds,
tempts them out into the stark sun by day
then sends the killing frost
to knife their tender hearts at night.

My wife’s lawyer,
a square big enough for him to see
scraped with his Visa Gold Card
from the frost on the windshield of his Saab,
comes by to serve me
with notice of the charges
he’s advised my wife to make.

Seems her bid for custody will be better
once trumped-up with every heinous offense short of murder
she could ever imagine me having committed
against the neighbours
against her
against the kids.

It’s a strategy he’s following—
this from my wife, on the phone, when the lawyer has left—
in order to protect the best interests of his client.

The truth, she reassures me,
has nothing to do with the affidavit she’s signed.
Don’t take it personally, she says.
She drives the whole way to my house
just to give me a hug,
an embrace so unexpected
I feel a click in my heart
as though it’s been shut off.

On the radio behind me
the man from the agricultural college
is talking about the contrast,
the jolting difference between this cold and warmth.

“This is what will get the sap running,”
he says.

Don’t count on it, I think.
And as though she can hear my thoughts
my wife raises her eyebrows and says:
“What?”

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