Wednesday, December 18, 2013

What Roses Taught Me

Something about the sun stopping
to light up one side of the yellow flesh
now shriveled up, the orange and scarlet lips
now crisp at petal’s edge

Yes, it was the sun catching as it did
the yellow to make bright glow
the sun was Mama, she said, Yes, I bless this yellow with my light
this grandchild who took these yellow roses (Mama’s favorite flower)
from my grave

and brought them home

(nieces and sisters-in-law took pinks away)

I learned as my stolen yellow roses too, dried
from Mama’s sweet, plump flesh to crackling petals and lips
lined as the desert sucking life from their tenderness
as yellow lit up everything else
and softly glowed with acceptance
Mama’s light told me, “Here is my special affection for you
here is my yellow glow
here I am, this yellow

and, I am there with grandchild

with niece and nephews,
with aunt and sisters-in-law
(I glow pink with them)

and with brother, who took no roses
but his memory of my kiss

with daughter, who nursed me
I died in her arms

with grandson who brought trays and trays of sweet pastries
to make everyone happy

that’s what I wanted!

I am laughing in Heaven with my husband, in the pulsating blue sky.”

What roses taught me
when the dried yellow twinkled back at me
the deep folds of her love held together now
with the desert’s last drop of moisture

was simply this

she glowed yellow as the sun
but she did not love me alone

Gemini, chameleon
She would shift her colors with abandon
blithely throwing off one for the other
perfectly merging
perfectly immersed
I watched helpless to hold her to me

she belonged to everyone she loved and lighted

she loved us all.

©Patricia Goodwin, 2013

Patricia Goodwin is the author of When Two Women Die and Dreamwater. She includes her mother, Lena in each book - in WTWD Lena is a caretaker, in Dreamwater, a very cute, noisy baby. Patricia gave her mother's red curls to her character, Rosie Low, mother of the pirate, Ned Low.