New love came early this year
a skunk cabbage in the snow
its rigid pink flower rupturing the icy ground
an upturned spire of a shimmering whelk
unburied by an outgoing tide.
I was still in winter when you blossomed
more coiled than the hardwood buds
bound tight in their burgundy shawls,
while you stood radiant
unassuming in our small rolling wetland
proud to usher in the warmer days
of running sap and bird songs.
Could I find a friend in you—
your mottled skin smelling of earth and flesh
flecked with damp soil and new sunlight.
Could I lie with you—
unwrap myself beside you
here at the onset of a thaw.