You promised us five good years, and transformed the grounds

into a tangle of blossoms,

the flowers coming and going

with their different shapes and colors,

unerring as time: first the crocuses,

nosy and yellow, soon joined

by jittery violets making their

blue apologies for the long winter,

then tulips - red and yellow torches

whose conceit paled when the dogwood trees

tattooed the lawns pink and white.

How the garden glowed! It seemed to

expand in space as it grew

crowded with details of beauty,

each flower lifting its face to you,

to the gentle rain

from your watering can,

the roses halting their climb

up the lamp posts so you could

lash them loosely with string.

It always seemed to be summer - at least

summer is what I remember you in,

walking back and forth past these windows

pushing a wheelbarrow,

keys rattling on your hip, always

weeding or planting or pruning.

When you repaired the old cracked steps

stumbling up the hill, you etched

"Lee 1987" into a corner, as though

signing the painting of

paradise you created

to wrap around your life -

your legacy to us. I should have known,

as you kept walking through

the remaining years, that all along

you were planning your leavetaking,

with every step going

farther and farther away.

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