for the rains, washing away
all traces of the seasons we witnessed
together. My unclean palms pressed
in prayer, I am penitent, mumbling
offerings to the gods for second chances,
redemption from the ghost-bones of grief.
I cannot bear how time moves
from then to now to now and now,
how the melt follows the freeze,
how the purple tulips spring
from our abandoned garden, blooming
despite neglect, how this beauty hurts
my eyes, squinting into sudden sunlight.
But we are not flowers, wintered-over,
nor the inevitable greenish buds, pushing
up through tree bark. We are not
the dead grass that will green again
only to die and green again once more.
No, we are wet as common garden mud, stuck
or cracking and turning to grit. We are borne
on the winds and carried across an ocean,
where we once emerged, salty and breathing
painful air into nascent lungs. And we are
the breath before dying.
© Ami Mattison
Photo courtesy of Dru!