It happened again this year
on the shortest day
when the temperature rose
above freezing and the adhering snow
made everything Christmas:
Two pussy willow catkins slipped
through their husks. But there were just those
The next weeks saw glimpses of more light –
and by March, enough,
until finally this evening,
I saw what looked like strung pearls
lighting the willow’s branches.
And I remembered.
It is in the days after
this doubling of light begins
that catkins must emerge,
seeming to know
what we should know, too:
That it takes a constant light,
rather than what dazzles us
on a single blinding winter’s day,
to push aside what holds us contained.
Margaret Krell lives in suburban Boston, and on occasion still teaches privately. Her work has been published in The Washington Post, The Providence Journal and The Boston Globe. Her most recent publication was an essay in the anthology, Family Stories from the Attic