Stanzas of Remembered Flowers

Lavender
I tried so hard to grow,
Neglected by long hours of too much work and finally
Dug up to death by my ex-husband
after the end of everything.
But it’s scent – bottled –
shines on my pillow on sleepless nights
and reminds me of my mother.

Violets
my grandfather’s favorite scent, my mother (yes, her again) told me.
I have a small cask of violet scent
that I cannot bear to open
because if I use it
it will be gone
and then I will not know what my
grandfather’s favorite scent was.
It has been on my shelf for so long
it likely smells now only of dust.

Gardenias
along the brick front steps
of the house where I grew up,
the blossoms a rare treat,
exotic and sensual in their scent.
I would spend time
picking off the little bugs that would harm the plant,
trying to keep it alive
even as the blooms turned golden brown,
their fragrance dragged down into the mud by age and air.

Daffodils
as a first hope
when winter seems unbearable,
tightly budded turned to trumpeting blooms
with a scent so scant one must know how to smell for it
but so fresh and full of spring as a ball of sunlit butter or warm kitten fur.
I sneak sniffs of their yellowness in the grocery store
floral section
and remember scampering over rocks
in fields that were full lush ripe joyous overwhelming endless
of them.

Roses
a drunken rainbow of colors
in the past and present and future,
dried and hanging from the ceilings and walls of the bungalow,
single corsages of forgotten origin tucked away in boxes,
saved so I would always remember.
The dozen yellow roses that my parents sent me
when my daughter was born.
Yellow roses.
Always my mother’s favorite.

Lilacs
consuming my small house
that I no longer live in,
their bushes roof-high,
their branches old and gnarled,
but every few years
the weight of their harvest
encompasses all the old white boards
and fading red trim
and transforms
an ordinary little old domicile
into a bower of magic.

So many more
captured in the mind’s eye,
in the recollected scent of complicated night breezes
and happenstance passages,
so many more to name
but every poem must
have an end

Or at least a pause
to cleanse the palate
and clear the senses.