From the collection, Exculpatory Lilies, published 2022
Another Valentine’s Day behind bars
and I bring you light from the stars
that you might find your way back to us
out of darkness. I bring you memories
of me – naked, happy, nine months pregnant
tasting applesauce in the kitchen.
I bring you the wind, the way
our house creaked as you rocked
our newborn daughter who couldn’t sleep.
I bring a handful of rain
that you may remember the sound of it,
and the smell of the earth
when you turn it in your hands.
I don’t know why our life took
the turn it did, but now the smell
of earth reminds you – the magnolia
tree you planted the day
our daughter was born: did it live?
I bring you tears, the ones you wept
mixed with the milky scent of those I kept
locked up in me as I sang our daughter
to sleep those first merciful years –
if I could I would give you wings
to carry you up to the sky.
When I kiss your eyes, your sudden cry
startles the magnolia to a deeper white.