For Geoffrey Chaucer

February drapes frost upon cotton
clad shoulders, moist breath alters water
from a gas to a liquid while we
scrutinize the moon’s trusty cycle

waiting on a moveable feast sure
to stir our awakening amid adults

who combine mystical tradition
and Valentine martyrs before shifting
purpose, fixating on a dream vision
like “The Parliament of Fowls,”
mixing romance and courting sentiment
expressed through heart-shaped
candy boxes, hallmark declarations,
perfumed missives, and engagement rings.
Like Chaucer’s congregation of birds
a long time past, we choose each other
and observe other parents carpool
tradition’s soldiers—catholic kids

march into classrooms, sport foreheads
dabbed with ashes—dirt on any other day—

exchange handcrafted cards in red envelopes
containing sugar candy sweethearts bearing
messages to secret admirers, children
today, Valentine paramours tomorrow.