Garden Room

I find the scene as I left it

—flowers blowing like skirts in the wind

—Queen Anne’s lace high as my hip

I find my mother as she’s ever been

—standing tall over pale purple astilbe

—telling me what to do and forgetting I’ve done it

Time is a string that touches itself

—the here and then align

but I am not at home, my mother on the phone

—a young woman and an old, the middle wearing thin at the fingers

—hovering over the garden like summer air

All this forgetting gets heavy quick

—all her friends, strangers

—all her clothes, new

—all this dancing we’ve done, just steps I’ll have to tell her about

She’s gone to bed and I’ve gone out at night

She’s gone to hell and come back to get us

I go over for lunch and she’s already left for the dentist

She has cancer—she has a slow heart

She’s in a bad mood—I don’t mind

I still love her in a swimsuit

I still love her in the garden smelling baby’s breath

—busy forgetting things

—busy telling me all the people I’m gonna be

—just to see what sticks

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