Soft World

by Susan Barba

I’ve just seen Sheila Hicks speaking from Paris on a zoom call

and I step outside in Cambridge and hello, the cherry trees

are up to something with         the wind turning the earth pointillist pink

I place a chair beneath the boughs to watch         the color blow

the sparrows in the trees bend blossoms to their beaks         the pigment enters them

the petals pollen grains attendant insects        anything that’s proximate

is raw material which packed inside a form      whether it’s muscular

or linear will delineate new waves of light        to activate the negative space

the soft stuffed birds the rods and cones        pregnant with color

Published on June 13, 2023

First published in Harvard Review 60.