Leap Day – St. Oswald’s Day
February 29, 2008
Buy a ticket to ride
the ferry from Seattle to Bainbridge.
The sign in the window screams “Leap Day!”
I ask the ferry-person in the booth, the latte makers, a women walking pugs,
a state policeman walking a bomb-sniffing German shorthair:
What is leap year to you? Another holiday for Hallmark?
The ferry steams toward us. Across Puget Sound,
the Olympic peaks in full snow. People learn on their cars
in warm sun and I ask them too.
If your birthday is today, you get one heck of a party every four years.
It means you can ask him to marry you.
I have draft pre-nuptual agreements in my purse to read on the ferry.
He’s asked, and I’ve asked. Old legends say he must say yes or pay a price.
It’s how we keep the seasons honest, turning on the cycle.
Without it, we’d get lost. Winter would be spring. Spring winter. Like that.
The season is turned on end already.
I shake out my hair in messenger wind,
wishing I had red petticoats to furl at the waves.
The sun now is madly spring,
but by noon rains pelt the fish house deck.
Daffodil buds nod, accepting.