FLOWERS OF MY LIFE

“And so our mothers and grandmothers have, more often than not anonymously, handed on the creative spark, the seed of the flower they themselves never hoped to see – or like a sealed letter they could not plainly read.”
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  ~Alice Walker
 

DAHLIA the past, my parents cultivate their gardens, knowing full well they were cultivating us too

WILD DAISIES first love, plucking the petals “He loves me, He loves me not, He loves me!”

GERBER DAISIES all the colors of our life, planted each Spring, they represent who we are differently, and as one

FIRE`N`ICE ROSES wedding flowers, symbolizing the passion and purity upon which we built our foundation of love and family and home

HYDRANGEA the flower of our parenting, warm, happy   Cape Cod   memories each summer as we watch our children grow–all the stages of their lives, and the laughter– all the laughter

STAR GAZER LILIES mystical flowers, sturdily symbolizing my belief in the stars and the world beyond that is both within my grasp and far enough that I have to keep reaching

Flowers We Grow

 

            I.

The light is our apostle.

As sisters, we come to tend gardens:

lay the soil rich

of labor and love.

Planting roots. Watching seeds sprout.

Determined to envelop our precious

offspring. First flowers, pansies, when tended to

last all summer long. Marigolds encircle the garden,

scaring the uninvited away. Poppies grow

the tallest, sucking energy from sun to pollen.

Roses climb and wind. Easter lilies flutter in the breeze.

We try to plant in just the right light,

but even then, weeds grow, vines

tangle. We keep clipping

thorns and bandaging pricks

for each rite of passage.

 

            II.

Each summer,

I am still sowing. I walk through

my garden. The lilac scent trails, always

just behind me, as I deadhead the annuals.

To keep them flourishing, I bathe them

in Miracle Grow: 15-30 for the hardy,

30-10 for the delicate. Stepping back,

I admire the garden’s beauty,

note its imperfections.

 

You pick your flowers

and pretty them in a vase

at the center of your table.

As if you work in the garden is complete,

you admire them like a prize.

 

            III.

Your Jack preferred piano to baseball.

No wonder he wears his hair so long,

your husband said.

I admired you for loving Jack

when he handed you a bouquet of pansies

this Spring.

 

But Liza, the marigold in her daddy’s eyes, standing stalwart

and brave, made him proud—

earned her way toAnnapolis;

Only it’s unfortunate the way she puts oceans between

herself and those who come

too close.

 

Cain quit his books to pursue a career

in horticulture; raising opiates and weed.

I thought he was only playing games

as a boy, singing Step on the crack,

Break your mama’s back.

I wish he had sung Jack’s rendition

of World on a String instead.

 

            I haven’t the answer.

To me, my Clarissa is a rose,

but hard to touch, while her sister, Emma,

is smart as she is lily delicate.

 

            IV.

We sit across the table from one another,

sisters bandaging wounds.

My hand reaches across

to touch yours.

I always thought you looked

best in sunlight. As a child,

I wished I could fit right into your skin.

 

How is it, you break

the memory, Clarissa and Emma

Have turned out so perfect?

You whisper,

My children have peeled me

to the core.

 

 

 

 

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