False Spring, Year of the Tiger

by Deirdre Lockwood

Red couplets of the new year bright
around my neighbor’s blue door

climb up over the hill into sun
still there, 3 pm Presidents’ Day

another false leader proclaiming land
his own his birthright west

wind licked off the Sound
combs the bare cottonwoods flat

and shivers me cottonmind cotton-
heart Spring comes early in Seattle

wrote the Times reporter who visited
for a weekend and left us

someone’s flag caught on the roseless
thornbush the pinwheel we got

at the beach last summer says wind
coming from all directions or none

buffeted stand in this patch of sun as long
uncertainty levels high and growing

even in dreams precision and accuracy
are not the same the sound I thought

was the rain was the wind in the pines
in the road dozens of spruce cones we’ve

forgotten how to windbreak each other
boughing to what in you is me all along

my walk No Cleaning Job Too Big
or Small when I think of a joke to tell you

and remember I can’t high in the cedar
a creaking fledgling or branch about to

Moscow, Vietnam, mindfulness
in the miniature library and the 100-year-old

sequoia the neighbor called just a baby
hand to bark we’re still learning


Deirdre Lockwood is a poet and fiction writer based in Seattle. Her poems have appeared in 32 Poems, DIAGRAM, Mud Season Review, Pacifica Review, Poetry Northwest, Salamander, Tahoma Literary Review, The Threepenny Review, The Yale Review and elsewhere.

Image: Junru Pu

Image description: Close up photograph of sequoia bark.