It was one of those days when not even the bland sun
could lift the pinched green leaves of rhododendron,
when, if she’d looked out the window as at a TV screen,
she might have seen the news broadcast as a frozen grackle,
black feathers iridescent as oil, beady eyes looking at nothing.
But if, on the other hand, as icicles hung tinkling like beaded finery,
it might have been a day of enchantment, not foreboding,
the bird just a thing of pathos, the cold merely cold.
As it was, she concentrated during the Mass on conjugating
the French verb vouloir, as she might have done, feet stirrupped
on the doctor’s table, and when the priest asked if she took this man
till death did her part, she said je le veux, smiling up at him.