Like scouts, they arrive

quietly and unannounced -

soldiers of spring,

but weaponless,

only harbingers of the larger regiment to follow.

A footprint, more muddy than icy -

A bush, which upon first glance

is skeletal and withered…

on closer inspection,

east gazing buds timidly peek

towards the warmth.

Midday shadows grow stronger

as the sun steps

haltingly northward.

A bird

in its nest newly formed,

and eggs freshly laid,

cries warning.

Heat, in fits and starts,

struggles to break through the Arctic breeze-

asking it to go back north

until next season.

There will be stronger

and more glorious

soldiers to arrive.

Tulips, the Trumpeters.

Daffodils, the Flag Bearers.

The bees and the pollen, the Enlisted.

But for now, the land belongs

to the firstborn of spring.