Letter to Mom, 2015
The mid-April air is sweet.
Lilacs have their turn now,
magnolias a forgotten dream;
spring wind strips away plum blossoms,
sends pink snow swirling into gutters.
Azaleas and rhodies kick their heels
at the street– Can-can dancers
raising their dresses: pinks, reds, oranges,
whites, purples all in a line. A few frogs
still chirp at dusk, remind me of cicadas,
long, thick evenings bottling lightning bugs.
Another lifetime I brought you hand-picked
bouquets of May flowers; you cut lilacs
for the kitchen table, the one where we still
gather for good food, games, conversation.
I can’t bring myself to throw away the ladder-back
chairs we said grace upon– bless this– they collapse
in the shed, fall apart like faded letters, brittle,
last year’s blossoms.
Can I drop into those games again? Or the meals,
with talks full of broken dreams, this, the year
you’d turn 100? What do you have to say to me
on my 65th birthday? I already outlived you.
How do I reach you now to hold, look into your eyes,
see love hiding, blurred behind the years? This: I place
lilacs in the old vase. Set it on the table, lean over,