Was my mother ever as beautiful

as these women in fresh clothes,

waiting for their men to come here?


They move unhurried across Friday afternoon lawns

with sandaled children dangling

off slender white fingers

and a babe

held one handed between their breasts.


They’ve brushed back their hair

and though their lips aren’t painted pink,

they only need the shadows of trees

to accent their unlined faces

against the solid color of grass.


They wear their opened blouses

outside shorts cut off mid thigh,

or floral dresses sliding easy in the wind

down naked shoulders to a V.

They can shift the newborn to one side

and stoop to pull a weed

all in one smooth motion.


I think they bathed the infant first

and then the curly haired boy

and then themselves,

and their mouths must taste

as sweet as lilac.


Once the car turns into the drive

they’ll sit together on the deck

while he lights the coals

and tells about the passing of the day,

about grandma: the think she’s dying.


This is the way it was supposed to be,

the way I dreamed it.

The oldest plays between us

on redwood slats,

and we laugh at what he shouldn’t ask.


With this kind of breeze

and the leaves spawning early this year,

we move inside to lay baby down

and sing the boy to sleep.

We kiss just like before

in a room open to the night.


I know about such a room.

I had a spring like this

with a young woman in fresh clothes,

her breasts full and high,

a whole summer

straining upward to the universe.


But my husbandry has long been lost

to wayward shrubs and sudden storms.

I must drive on now

to landscapes assigned to older men.

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