It’s winter and the roses are in bloom.
My mother folds the sheets into perfect
warmth, the afternoon a haze of grit.
They will say, one day, she used to do this then,
or this, or that. But not yet.
Her gesture lingers on a pillow;
lavender, perhaps, or lily-of-the-valley.
Something stronger: vetiver, clove.
It’s winter and the ice flakes off the dark
flesh of the lake leaving it rippled and old.
Hard to imagine sweat in the white knife
of the seagull’s wings, in the white
roofs of the boats, in the white
necks of the swans.
Once I woke and found my parents
in my bed with me
and strangers in theirs, as though I’d
woken from one dream into another,
as if everything I’d feared were real.
There were no seasons then. No roses,
no ice, just crisply folded lines
and a child’s contempt.
Editor’s Note: The imagery in this poem perfectly conveys the narrative and meaning: growing up to realize that what you once knew, innocently, has changed. Loss has multiple layers in this poem.