It is spring when the storks return.
by Ruth Stone
They rise from storied roofs.
In the quick winter afternoon
you lie on your bed
with a library book close to your face,
your body on a single bed,
and the storks rise
with the sound of a lifted sash.
You know without looking
that a servant girl
is leaning out in the soft foreign air.
A slow spiral of smoke
from green firewood
is reflected in her eyes.
She moves down an outside stair
absently driving the poultry.
The storks are standing on the roof.
The girl wraps her hands in her apron.
Small yellow flowers
have clumped among the tussocks
of coarse grass.
She listens with her mouth open
to something you cannot hear.
Your body is asleep.
She does not know a cavalry is coming
on a mud-rutted road,
and men with minds like ferrets
are stamping their heavy boots
along the pages.