I wake early, draw back night-drenched drapes
so that when you rise
only brightness greets you.
I add milk and sugar to your cup,
you slice me a serving of coffee cake
twice as large as yesterday’s.
We close cupboard doors left ajar
without complaint, extinguish lights
left blazing in empty rooms.
Our disquiet makes us indulgent,
reminds us that there may not always be
love to leave half-eaten.
A riot of yellow trumpets salutes
our passing as we amble to the lake.
You nod at them and say, Oh, look:
the for Cynthias are in bloom.
A gentle mondegreen, barely worth
correcting. Except I always do—
I’ve set you straight a score of years,
but today there are greater urgencies:
the startled chip! of a sanguine cardinal
that swoops across our path.
A blue sky, veined with brown branches
as we look to an expectant heaven.
The way our footsteps coincide in
silence, kiss the earth as if a single tread.
The amazement that we’ve walked
this far on a road that’s never been
strewn with so much wonderment,
doused in so much light.
Spring repeats herself
like a babbling old fool,
asking again if lunch is ready.
She mutters in crocuses,
daffodils, shadblow—the same
beautifully bowed gifts
she has borne time and again—
mud and rain, mud and rain,
an endless reprise.
How is it that we adore her
now more than ever, like an elder
rooted in a shabby armchair
whose head we cannot help
but kiss with each passing,
although we endure
their endless mewling,
although we know that these
blossoms too will fade?
My mother’s last words were
I want to walk in the rain
and feel the rain on my face
although she abhorred how
her bones ached, how her hair frizzed,
with the falling barometer.
Loss sharpens our senses,
makes us hungry for foods
we did not know we favored.
Our appetites now
betray how little we loved
what we love, before.