by kathleen flenniken
As though we could string pearls into a necklace
of only good moments, between knots of waxed
string. Tonight, a month after the last lilac bloomed,
I finally noticed, and no hothouse could make the bushes
flower again late, early, whatever you call the period
after you’ve lost everything. Still, cells replicate,
shed skin is replaced. We are not who we were.
I’d seen the lilacs, gone through the motions
of breathing in, swirled the scent in the goblet
of my brain but I wasn’t listening until
this evening, after the first warm day in June
when I considered how fine a bunch of lilacs
would be, enough to fill my arms, to hide my face
in their tender, sweet nostalgia for ordinary life.