The Fourth of July roses
hang from my father’s arbor.
Sweet apple first, then ruffles red and white,
with buttery bean sprout centers.
Worn linen petals flutter, flutter
and wave welcome, inviting one last look–before
their canes are frost-filled streams,
and hips are bird-picked clean.
On each visit we tarry, tarry
at the trellis. He admires how far they’ve grown,
awaits the inches left, touches
green tenderly, turns
and asks again,
aren’t they something?
As if I hadn’t heard him on all those previous visits–
as if I didn’t understand what he was saying to me–
as if in the gloaming summer fade I had
the flicker in his eyes–
when he snipped
then passed on
that pinwheel jewel–as if
in his eighty-year-old hand,
I couldn’t see
his mother’s crooked finger.
First published in Cirque-A Literary Journal for the North Pacific Rim. Vol. 4, No. 2. Summer Solstice 2013