The ground is thawing. And now the sun
has reached an angle of amber

upon the bees. The field’s mud
is stirring. This afternoon the peepers

in the shallow pond in the woods, flooded
a hunger-making sound from their throats,

and I got down to the work of writing to you.
I got down and filled my hands

with the muddy words that sat, cold in the melt,
sat in the salt and cinders beside the path,

where the crocuses open their mouths skyward,
their yellow tongues of impatience,

their veined throats wondering at the pleated earth,
through which they’ve broken

too recent to understand their coming
and what they’ve brought:

words, those sweet fictions, solid enough to reassemble
your footsteps, true enough

to serve as the bird calling to you, Love.
In my boots and jeans

With my gloves, and my shears in hand, the sun escalating,
I increase the claim my soul has staked, here

where the house throws down her shadow
upon the hours of my labor,

upon the stone wall and through the orchard—
a hundred ways this supplicant

has made appeal to the land.
The work is the prayer.

— Justen Ahren
West Tisbury Poet Laureate