Dear Uncle Willie
When you said: "God made the nuts,
but he left us to crack'em,"
did you know that one day, your grandson
would crack a code
even Archimedes could not fathom?
He knows the secret of calendar clouds,
how hepaticas, small and violent
with infant faces, push up
from between dried leaves.
He knows, as you, there in your comfy grave,
where to dig in, when
to break through birch glimmering with light
like the day he asked me
in the leaves riding high above the trees,
asked me not in the stippled church,
but walking the woods we love, the red
tree burning through the brush,
hugging each vine to our skin and you,
rock and soil, winter and spring,
an aged poplar growing new roots,
spreading your limbs to hold
this place, this light . . . the shad bush
with a veil of white flowers.