Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Grandma's Poppies

To the right of the back door, past the cistern and pump
In a bed near bearded iris of purple, yellow and rust
Not as far toward the old coop as the vegetable patch
And left of the grape arbor's new shoots barely coming back
Bloomed my grandma's poppies without fail every spring

Crepe paper orange flowers bobbed on wavy graceful necks
I would pull each tissue petal singing he loves me, loves me not
Tossed into the breeze, they flew like butterflies escaping
Waving goodbye to the farm and to the country way of life
When I picked my grandma's poppies upon each visit in the spring.

Some days she would remember me, some days I was my mother
But she could still name every shrub, every herb and tree and flower
Then she wanted me to take some, digging beside me in the soil
Wrapping roots in an old dishtowel that she dampened at the well
To protect my grandma's poppies that I took home with me that spring

Two hundred miles of rolling highway driven over neighboring states
With jars of pickles, the last quilt, hollyhock and cleome seeds
They looked so wilted, so tired, as I quickly dug them in at midnight
But by the morning they were happy, just as bloom today so bright
My grandma's poppies are her memory, and she is with me every spring

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