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.