On a night like this one.

You will remember the mown grass's humid smell gusting into the car as you drove southward, and again as you drove back from spring and found yet more spring waiting for you at home. You will remember it when you hear a far-off sound of cricketsong, far enough away that it might not be sounding at all, might be just your wanting's tuned to a warmer month. When you look up to the edge of dusk, the shadows that wave will be thickening. The ends of some branches will have burst by day. The world cannot contain itself.

A boy's hand will make a sudden xylophone of a picket fence.

In the darkness you will not see the buds you found in the afternoon. And you will say that you do not fear the threatening freeze, that the wind that blows tonight carries no scent of snow, brings still exhalations of the ground's new warmth.

Still you will have brought inside armloads of flowers, explosions, burstings. Your vases can barely contain them. They will tide you over if the weather cannot hold. Still you will worry about your flowering trees. Still you will wonder whether everything will survive.

On a night like this one, you will think about walking away and not coming back for a long time. You will want to carry yourself off to the prairie with your long stride, to see whether it's really been burned, whether you really missed it, what it looks like now, blackened darker than dark. You will decide not to go, but you will have gone anyway, gone without going. You will have found that ash field, smelled the destruction you cannot see, caught to yourself the new growth heralded. "Why do they burn it?" she has asked. You have answered, knowing that you do not know, and telling that you do not know: "To get the dead growth out."

On a night like this one, you will see no stars on your walk home. You will steer by the sound of your steps.

(Also, how can I not have told you this yet? Happy National Poetry Month! And we have a specific person--in addition to all those centuries of poets--to thank for it. I know her, even if you don't. Good work, you!)