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ISSUE:  Spring 1987

The scent of lilac
is gone from the room.
It’s almost summer.
My mother’s started bringing in
marsh marigolds for the table.
They make pronged shadows
against the pine
that frames three ovaled portraits.
She’s excited by the heat.
The children next door
are out of school
and swing on the tire
she’s put back up.

She hasn’t asked about my brothers this time.
It’s enough that I sit beneath the grayed glass
that keeps safe my pixie cut, their crew cuts.
They wear tiny ties, my eyes are as dark
as the strung beads on her silver purse.

I pack and we do not speak.
The scent of lilac is gone.
It won’t be long before
she pulls out the cornucopia
and dries even the smallest weed.
I leave the new addresses on the table,
yellow blossoms catching in my hair
as it drags across the cut stems in the vase.


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