by Michael L. Stewart
I remember when I wanted to please my mother
so I ran with scissors —
up the asphalt Jordan, freshly paved,
past three doors — a pilgrimage for little legs.
My mission brought me under his window,
that old man with his loud dog inside,
tranquilized by television,
and there I sliced the heads
from lilacs budding beside the house;
stole them from under his nose
and brought them to her on a silver platter.
She put them in a vase of hand-blown glass
so they could breathe on the kitchen windowsill —
they spent three days in their transparent prison,
falling prey to sweating sun and air thick,
as if from heavy bathhouse steam.
When they at last forfeited themselves,
she squeezed the color from their veins and
pressed them in a book, their new tomb between two pages
marked ‘Cecilia’ and ‘Valerian’ —
In the end, I hear they met God.
Will I be so fortunate?