Outside my window, the bushes have turned, redder
than any fire, and the sky is the same blue Giotto
used for Mary’s robes. My mother says if she still
had a house, she’d plant one or two of these bushes,
and I love how she’s still thinking about gardening,
as if she were in the middle of the story, even though
we both know she’s at the end. Down in the meadow,
the goldenrod’s gone from cadmium yellow to a feathery
beige, the ghost of itself. Mother, too, fades away,
skin thin as the tissue stuffed up her sleeve.
The scars on her stomach itch and burn, but inside,
she’s still the girl who loved to turn cartwheels,
the woman whose best days were on fairways
and putting greens. On television, we watch
California go up in smoke,flames leapfrogging
ridge to ridge. Here, these leaves release
a shower of scarlet feathers,as everything
starts to let go. Oh, how this world
burns and burns us, yet we are not consumed.
~Barbara Crooker


poems online