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Date(s) - 02/21/2019 - 02/27/2019
12:00 am

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And finally, one last February poem . . .

Late February

          by Ted Kooser

The first warm day,

and by mid-afternoon

the snow is no more

than a washing

strewn over the yards,

the bedding rolled in knots

and leaking water,

the white shirts lying

under the evergreens.

Through the heaviest drifts

rise autumn’s fallen

bicycles, small carnivals

of paint and chrome,

the Octopus

and Tilt-A-Whirl

beginning to turn

in the sun. Now children,

stiffened by winter

and dressed, somehow,

like old men, mutter

and bend to the work

of building dams.

But such a spring is brief;

by five o’clock

the chill of sundown,

darkness, the blue TVs

flashing like storms

in the picture windows,

the yards gone gray,

the wet dogs barking

at nothing. Far off

across the cornfields

staked for streets and sewers,

the body of a farmer

missing since fall

will show up

in his garden tomorrow,

as unexpected

as a tulip.

Ted Kooser (b. 1939) lives in Nebraska. He served as Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004 to 2006. Kooser was one of the first poet laureates selected from the Great Plains, and is known for his conversational style of poetry.