Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Remembering it’s February

I saw my mother last night.

The whole family was walking to a wedding
when I realized I’d left home without my shoes.
The yellow polish on my toenails had almost flaked off.

I hurriedly explained how I had to go back
and dashed off without kissing her goodbye,
even though she’s been dead for five years
and I only see her on special occasions like this.

Then I accidentally stole a car and woke up thirsty.

Spring came early this year,
although I’m beginning to suspect that’s her favorite trick.

She comes early every year and then ducks back down to the bar for a while.

She stays just long enough for you to believe her caresses again,
waits until you’ve stepped out to meet her in a short-sleeved shirt
and then – bang – you’re on your own again, baby.

Yesterday the sky was grinning and the plum trees were full of blossoms.

Finches – I think they were finches – were hopping through the branches,
dipping their beaks with disbelief in white flower after flower.

Then the wind remembered it’s February and sang in the treetops all night.

This morning, waking again into mourning, the yard was so confused:
bare limbs shook and shivered in icy gusts
and the walk was covered with drifts that would’ve been snow
if I was a kid and two thousand miles away.

Snow? No, just the punch line to a cruel joke
where two early bloomers end up naked,
a pile of white petals around their ankles.

After a shower and two glasses of water,
I was alive enough to start making sense of it all.

The wind. The car. The wet flowers and my mother.

You’re on your own again, baby.


  1. TK - Awesome poem..I like the refrain a lot...the flow & time warps work...

  2. The imagery is lovely, and the mood it provokes rather intense.

    I’ve long since had mixed feelings about the false spring we always get up here in the Bay Area. When it is 75 degrees and the trees are all in bloom, my instinct is to rejoice in the warmth and the loveliness - but the voice in the dark part of my mind warns me not to get too attached, as I will only be all the more disappointed when the cold and the rain re-appear.

    . . . To first bring so much color to that feeling and then transport it to a love and a loss so much deeper touched me a great deal. The idea of your mother coming to you in dreams before she “ducks back down to the bar for a while” is so poignant, and so haunting.

    That, and I like the idea of you with yellow toe nails.