Lisa Olstein’s “Dear One Absent This Long While” is a lovely poem, and especially appropriate for the rainy early spring we’re having here, when “everything blooms coldly.”
In what I thought of as an unsent letter, the speaker addresses the absent person—though the poem leaves open the identity of the missing loved one—revealing how she’s been so anxious to see him or her that she’s mistaken “leaves in the wind,” “the retreating shadow of a fox, daybreak” for the return of the absent loved one.
In the meantime, the speaker (solitary, we understand, since the other who wait are the cat and the stove—stoves in poems always remind me of Bishop’s “Sestina,” by the way) takes to planting to pass the time:
June efforts quietly.I’ve planted vegetables along each garden wall
so even if spring continues to disappointwe can say at least the lettuce loved the rain.