Putting Down Roots

a poem for you
December 9, 2010, 5:21 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I’m still writing poems, y’all. (I remember a really awful time in high school, when I was suffering from, well, high school. I was talking to Nathan Aldrich on the phone and he asked, “have you been writing?” And I hadn’t. It’s not that bad as long as I’m still writing.)

The Best We Can Hope For

I left North Florida behind
with its live oaks and Spanish moss,

my sugar snaps trained on twine and climbing
towards the branches of the pecan tree.

They don’t need me to grow towards the sun
and I’ll be back

from keeping my widowed mother company
before they bear fruit.

I get off the plane in Green Bay with flip flops
tucked in my backpack, fooled

by the mildness of December in the south.
Neil is dead and I am cold all the time.

My mother gives me a pair of his warm shearling slippers
for padding around the half-empty house, and a pair

of fleece pants with his last name spelled out on the tag:
a remnant from the weeks he spent in a nursing home

while his body failed him one last time. I pull
his thick gray flannel over my nightgown before sleep,

and only leave the house wrapped
in the scarf I knitted him.

I pull the matching hat over my head.
I open the door to a world that is not mourning

and a bitter cold that pulls color from my skin and this
is the best we can hope for:

that the dead would keep us warm.


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