Magnolia, by Lydia Horvath

Spring, by Sam Wright

So many things spring to mind
once the snows of February have melted:
Time to put away the snow shovel
left handily outside the back door.
Time to retire till next winter
the heavy tapered steel scraper used to break up the dangerous ice
that like clockwork glazes the driveway under the leaky gutter.
Time to rake the flower beds and crack the windows at night.
Time to fill the bird feeders & welcome the robin and his cohorts.
Time to plant a garden and time to sharpen the lawnmower blade.

It’s almost as if, once the vernal equinox tilts us closer to the sun,
we suddenly have nothing but time. Daylight blossoms by the minute
and it feels obvious that life has been blessed with more time.

But I know with certainty that just as soon as the Magnolia tree
blossoms, a storm will trash its soft pink petals, scattering them
across the backyard deck. It has happened time after time,
year after year. Sometimes, I tire of it—this perverse ritual
of tree abuse. So I’ve learned to drink in the beauty
of the Magnolia’s pink blossoms quickly, or time will
run out and I’ll miss it.

Like so many things, the older I get, the less time there is
for intensity. Or depth. And Spring seems little more
than a breath of fresh air, quickly spent.
Beautiful and resilient, true. But like an old watch,
the fatigued metal of each internal spring is bound to weaken,
slowing down faster and faster with each spin around the dial….


Sam Wright is a retired high school English teacher, and as Lee Alfred Wright, the author of Identity, Family, and Folklore in African American Literature. He writes some of this (short stories, journaling, and frequent letters to the editor) and some of that (a middle grade fantasy-adventure novel entitled Hector’s Tree, and young children’s books), but mostly poetry. And for the past six years, he’s been a member of Lake Erie Advocates, a Toledo-based environmental group calling for a ban/moratorium on concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) in the Maumee River watershed and beyond. A father of three daughters and a grandfather of two, he writes a lot of political poetry as well as poems that focus on the pleasures of family life and nature. Most recently his poems have appeared in Ohio Poetry Day’s Best of 2021; Encore: Prize Poems 2021; Common Threads; Geauga Park District’s Nature Writing 2021; Toledo City Paper; and elsewhere.