Signs of Changing Seasons in the South

by Shaun Terry

Dogwood buds

Bright little mushroom puffs,
like humble baby gems,
form fingertips on drab, arthritic phalanges
of an old southern tree.

My chest broadens beneath swaying, singing pines;
I feel like a big prehistoric bird.
Pine needles percolate
up from my inflated chest.
They converge in my throat,
nearly choking me.
But I calm myself,
and the pine needles melt
into the atmosphere,
forming a clean, sweet foam
that discreetly impedes my vision.
And the moist, cotton-filled, transitive air
envelopes my body in a warm, soft glow.

A pudgy, ruddy man in a Hawaiian shirt
and dingy ecru cargo shorts,
their hemline a couple inches above his pink, cushiony knees,
sucks in spring’s bright air in big, sporadic gasps,
as he works a corndog in his round mouth
and washes it down with a 64-ounce soda.