GloPoWriMo: Day 24

060306

Bulbs and Roots

He was a hard man,
at times,
hard to talk to,
hard to please.

It was only
after the stroke
he grew
soft
and strong.

Then he called me
out of nowhere
to say the words
I’d waited a lifetime
to hear.

On his last visit
in the early spring
he dug out Bermuda grass
for me. I worried
over the roots
he missed, wiring
their ways between
stones of the pond.

But now, after summer
rains, when I dig out
stubborn green sprouts,
I smile,
remembering my dad.
Maybe he spared a few
on purpose.

We walked
the back path
under the stalk
of a century plant.
He pointed up.
“It blooms!”
And he smiled like a kid.

I miss him
when I have to
do the grown-up stuff–
take the car
for an oil change.
File taxes.
Fix the leaking
faucet.

I miss him
when I see
a sudden dart
of a cardinal,
a branch of verbena
trailing over the path
that I want
to point to,
for him.

But those times,
I find him
still,
wiring his way
through the
stones of habit,
blooms of grace.

On a cloudy afternoon
in his last summer,
my sister, my brother,
and I
dug the grass from
his lawn so
he could plant
bulbs he’d ordered,
hundreds of them–
tulips, daffodils, narcissus–
flowers he knew
he would never see.

He planted
them, anyway,
smiling.

“What are you thinking,”
my mom asked,
“when you work in the
garden?”

“Nothing,”
he said.
“That’s the point.”

Daily Prompt:  “Write an elegy that has a hopefulness to it,” from the Na/GloPoWriMo site.

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