Sunny and cold. The peony sprouts are at that stage of development where it’s hard not to see them as little red hands—waving, drowning.
A blue wound opens in the clouds and heals over again. In the garden, pink claws that may become peonies if a late frost doesn’t kill them.
Two degrees below freezing and crystal clear. I worry for the tender young leaves of the peonies, paused mid-unfurl—translucent pink commas.
A chipmunk scurries through the garden with a wad of dried leaves between her teeth and disappears beneath a flowerless clump of peonies.
The hammer-blows of a pileated woodpecker opening up an oak. Peonies are sprouting in the garden, an infant’s pink, half-open fists.
The first peony, which opened yesterday, is too small to topple from the weight of rain. It merely tilts its flushed face toward the woods.
Cloudy and cool. The small black ants on the peony buds move sluggishly as lovers stunned by charismatic moons.
Cold, gray and windy. The peony sprouts, up early this year, are still at the point of just untwisting their skinny red fists.
Peonies have broken ground: skinny red claws reaching for the light. The whining clucks of a hen turkey separated from the flock.
Sitting in the garden while the porch’s new coat of paint dries, I notice the peony leaves too have turned red. A waxwing’s glossy calls.
Peonies are to death what roses are to love. After this afternoon’s predicted storms I’m sure they’ll all be bowed, poor thornless things.
The first four peonies burst their buds in the night and open to a sky of hazy pink. From under the house, a cat’s hollow cough.
Every day is the earth’s birthday. The largest peony plant, though still uncurling, already sports ten small planets midwived by ants.