Mud Season
Grant Clauser

Mud Season

Winter sloughs off the land
like a snake skin. Deer return
to eat the young crocuses. Finger ferns
sprout along the back shed where I planted
them ten seasons ago. Some footprints
in the herb garden say the doe stopped
to nose new basil leaves. Last night
I caught one in the yard, just standing
under a full moon the world hasn’t named
yet. I’ll call it the Mud Moon for a season
the earth softens, everything that passes
leaving an impression. Impossible
not to think about the heart in spring,
all the new growth competing for attention
in the shared world. Along creeks
old trout stir from their dark hideouts
to gorge on sail-finned imagos blooming
into the current. I call my daughter
on her birthday, growing farther away
every year. Another year of measuring
my boot prints in the mud next to young
deer prints who stop in the night
to taste fiddleheads, to test what shadows
mean under the moon, the new
and old orbiting each other.

Grant Clauser

is the author of five books, most recently Muddy Dragon on the Road to Heaven (winner of the Codhill Press Poetry Award). His poems have appeared in The American Poetry Review, Greensboro Review, Kenyon Review, and other journals. He works as an editor in Pennsylvania and teaches at Rosemont College.