Look at him looking at her. He
watches her fingers, deftly tucking back
her hair, watches her lips intently.
He observes her like some new specimen,
adds her to his catalogue of creatures.
And why not?
For he has given names to all the rest.
He has no mother, he
has no father or cousins.
Scaling the rough bark of a new arbutus,
breaching the courthouse steps, he
watches her molt into the half-light,
watches her shed her visible cloak
for the shifting anonymity of leaves.
The hum of cicadas upends
his balance, he
sweats as he hugs the trunk and
watches the wind behind her feet.
It is too hot, beyond his city of trees, so he
waits for the cool of evening, then ventures
into the tangle of vine-wrapped rebar and
shattered stones. To the shapeless ruins,
the flat fields, seeded in sorrow, the cracked skin,
the bone-sorrow, growing a crop of purple blossoms.
He speaks to the stones, in the tongue that his people taught him,
before they did not wake. He
speaks to the cicadas, calling them
by the name that their song suggests.
Under the new moon, the flat city shines;
the glass field cracks with fire. He
has not seen them in this new light,
has not known the velvet of fresh lilacs.
And he does not now, for he sights the glow of her camp.
Look at her looking at him. She
watches him walking across the expanse,
still scared of his own outline. She thinks that
she might have a name for the way
he picks his steps with care
to keep from crushing the brash explosion
of life, that Spring has brought to bear.