The Animal

That March had a neck like an animal;
its pussy-willow eyes watched me approaching.
O the snow in the tops of my boots, the melting water
cold through the rubber to my shins!
I think the taste of sky was threads of scarlet
cut round my body like glittering fever;
and I was breaking out my bones like steel
to reach and rake the last ice out of hills.
Over, over the meadows hiding their hair
under death till the whipping wind of June,
alone I dashed, approaching the wood I knew.
And there was that different animal, March,
meek with its pussy-willow eyes,
its neck of alder brown outstretched
to ask me to be merciful. I took
fewer than my sister had told me to. I hate
to break the body of March, to kill the living.