The woman’s wrist

Warmth layered under still chilly air, like a woman’s wrist flashing free of its sleeve. Yesterday’s sudden spring snow has all melted away. Even though the air under the shadows has a forbidding bite, people take off hats and jackets and even sit on the lawns, in full sun, as content as if this were an equatorial beach and not the mercurial transition from winter to spring in New England.

I’ve woken up to birdsong every morning since Saturday, song before the full happening of dawn. Notes suspend in the cerulean glow, astonishingly loud and bright. I can’t quite believe that spring has arrived, again, not as a gradual thaw but more like a violent rupture. For weeks, there were no birds and there was no warmth. Then on a day unexpectedly, there was not simply one song or one bird, but a chorus of them, breaking the blue quiet into tens of dozens of brighter shards. Snow receded by the hour, watering the streets and churning to mud on the campus quads.

Robins in the yards, crocuses up through the grass. Gloves left at home, and the thin hunkered endurance required to get through the winter months shrugged off like a coat. I open and close my bare hands as I walk down the street, as if I could grasp the warmth, elusive but tangible, slipping through them.

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