One of the things that’s difficult about this poetry-prompt-promise I’ve made is pressing ‘publish’ on these slightly imagined images. I want to let them cook a little longer. I want to fuse what I’m trying to say with what’s on the page a little bit more. I can do it later, of course. But for right now, this is it. I pulled the prompt: ‘where I am from’ and travelled to spring in the home where I grew up.
WHERE I AM FROM
Fifteen, to be exact
A home edged by flowers
My mother planted
They made her happy she said.
Especially the tulips
That slept underground
Under snow every year
And bloomed like miracles she said
Every year I checked on all the peeking blooms
To make sure spring was coming
To make sure she would be happy.
First the lilies of the valley
Tucked in the shadows by the evergreens
I’d scrunch down close to these slight stems of tiny white bells
With a scent barely louder than
The dirt beneath them.
Then I’d run by the tulips and daffodils
Shouting and waving by the front door
Yoohoo, Yoohoo we’re here too
Around the side of the house where
Heavy pink rhododendrons loomed thick with bees.
Finally my prize
a whole hedge of purple lilacs
Planted on my tenth birthday
Because they smelled like
Perfume on the necks of gorgeous women
In swirling gowns
in the arms of adoring men
Like a promise
Like everything yet to come.