The apricot my grandmother planted the day
that I was born. She made me fried pies
in her grandmother’s skillet. I have it still.
The frangipani down the street from the villa
(plumeria its real name). White and rose
and yellow flowers. Climbing with the ants
up its twisted trunk, I thought I was invisible.
The mimosa on 8th Street. Into late fall
she offered me feather flowers
that desperate year. Perhaps she saved me.
And henna—white flowers in that barren
desert where I tried to nest, pruning twigs
that did not fit. So much of love
is like this.
Japanese maple: scarlet against white dogwood
break of bloom. Shallow-rooted, it holds
earth together. Once, love was like this.
Crape myrtle, cherry red and toddler pink
lace-edged corsage on the front of a house
where love solved its first puzzles.
It is the way trees mark the verges
of journeys, dendritic timelines
blossomspill leaffall barebranch.
Originally published in This Land, Vol. 5, Issue 20, October 15, 2014.