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Shortlist Saturdays: Easter 2023 by Richard-Yves Sitoski

Easter 2023

Fall let go of leaves like a drunk his inhibitions

and winter proved that cold is lack of heat.

And now it’s time for buds. Erupt! we urge,

and so they try. They grope for sun like infant fists

that grab at toys outside the crib. It may take years,

as no spring slumped so naked, old man

in his birch bark skin awaiting nurse and sponge.

I rummage through your house for Easter eggs

of worth. There’s CorningWare and chutney.

Packing tape. A calendar with fighting ships. Jars

of corks. Napkins from the days of monograms.

Ballcaps, navy and beige, sweat stains on the bands

like salt on tequila rims. I move through the rooms,

funneled through the hall as through a narrow-

necked decanter. I sort and box debris and am

aglow with love, feeling red. For red is the colour

of spring, not pastel pink or yellow, and not the white

of messiah robes, laundry-clean after three days

in a sepulcher, but the red of his blood past mortality’s

threshold. The most positive colour of all, though

it’s never found in hospice rooms or support worker

scrubs. A colour we fear because it’s what’s inside us,

the colour of what our jealous skin will fight like hell

to keep from view. But red is what the world is, truly,

that family of colours with such haunting names.

Vermilion. Scarlet. Cinnabar. New life steaming in

its afterbirth. Coke cans exposed by snow like risen

ice men on their alpine slopes. Your children’s hair

the sheen of a proof set penny in that bliss

when families live forever. And now? What can I do

but stack you, boxed up, on the red Persian rugs,

in awe at how much life a tiny house can hold?

Now and then I take a hit of Malbec though it’s not

yet noon. I cannot face this day without some ruby

courage. I’m caught by my wife. I blush. She still thinks

Easter is for daffodils and sweet wet green

that cools the tongue. She hasn’t seen what I have seen.

Right there, at yard’s edge. The most beautiful thing.

Dogwoods shooting up through dawn, networks of

branches like the veins in the sclera of my bloodshot eyes.

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