Traveling Back, After Years

Visit to My Aunt

The long day's drive

from low elevation to 6,000 feet

a film rewinding: lilacs

in bloom over fences, birch and maple

full-leaf, then retracted to lime green, daffodils

for the second time this spring.

Now bare trees make an old mosaic

of the sky, only the willow

misting with green.

But every season crests

with color in my memory: crocus purple

to late yellow mums, your clustered sweet william

and scattered sweet pea,

the crepe-paper red of poppies.

It's my child-body

that walks up your drive, the beds

prepared and waiting, a dark glisten

where your shovel turned soil,

the first fringe of double tulips

under bony lilac branches.

In the quiet and clean of your house,

plentiful light through sheer priscillas,

I am treated as though

you've prepared all year for this.

When I leave carrying sugared almonds

and dried fruit, I imagine

you sit for a while, small hands white

in your lap, then begin at once

to prepare for my return.

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