Graduation Open House

The Talk­ing Stick, 2016

lilacsThe lace of lilacs tum­bles
from the crys­tal vase.
Every spring since I have lived
in my own house
I bring this fleet­ing boun­ty
to my bed­room.
The flower of brides.
This year I bring
the entire tree inside,
fill my house with
laven­der lilacs
pur­ple lilacs
lilac scent
cas­cad­ing from piano, table, glass, and tile
more frag­ile than lilies
more fleet­ing than ros­es.
The flower of babies
and old women.
I fill my house today
with riotous beau­ty,
lilac burst­ing open the sea­son.
It’s the day we cel­e­brate her leave tak­ing.
We lay out straw­ber­ries, cream cheese, water­mel­on, wine.
We lay out sto­ries, paint­ings, and old pho­tos:
one of my bel­ly swelling wel­come
under cot­ton flow­ers, me still sole own­er of the girl;
one of her tulip head cra­dled in her father’s palm;
one of our girl feed­ing her baby broth­er;
our girl naked under wal­nut tree. Slow­ly the scenes change.
She preens for the first danc­ing par­ty,
hugs friends, climbs the Grand Canyon,
builds habi­tat hous­es;
she’s wrapped in laven­der chif­fon and white prom ros­es.
We lay out tof­fee cook­ies and tea ring,
we lay out brown­ies and wel­come
to a hun­dred peo­ple who can­not help us
as we lay out our swelling god­speed hearts
and I bring lilacs to her bed­side table,
A first bou­quet for her,
the fra­grance fill­ing the room
she pre­pares to leave.