Persephone's lament, Early Spring,
I cannot think with all this color
burning around me.
A pyre of yellow forsythia
swallows its branches.
Scarlet tulips flame out of the earth;
amber carp swim
under the black water
like sparks under a kettle.
The rosy magnolia still smolders
after the morning's bleached fog dissipates.
Even in the narrow bands of blue
before the moon ignites,
the heavy gray of smoke
burns my nose.
I open the window
to let the air in.
It is not color I hate, but its dying.
Sarah A. Etlinger (she/her) is an English professor who lives in Milwaukee, WI, with her family. A Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee, she is the author of three books. You can find more of her work in Pank!, SWWIM, FEED Literary, and others.