Thursday, April 28, 2011

My Neighbor's Magnolia Tree

My neighbor’s magnolia tree outside my sick
bed window is waving its branches. The wind
has died down, so it is just a gentle sway,
like a sassy lady walking down the street
swishing her skirt back and forth. This when
people walked down streets and women wore
skirts wide enough to move like the branches
of a magnolia tree on an early spring afternoon.

The setting sun in the west is glowing on my
neighbor’s magnolia tree. I cannot see the sun
from my confined view, but I see the yellow hue
it casts on the otherwise white blossoms,
a foreshadowing of the death that is soon to follow.

My mother said, when she first saw my neighbor’s
magnolia tree, that those trees were fine
the few days they bloom, but then the scattering
of dead brown flowers everywhere.  This
was years ago, when my partner and I
and our children first moved into the house
next door to the magnolia tree. I was young
and healthy then and life was blossoms
of white and sweetness in the air.

Tomorrow, if I am well enough, I will stand
under that magnolia tree and inhale its
fragrance. Soon I will watch the blossoms
fade from white to yellow to brown and
drop one by one on my neighbor’s lawn.

With each loss, I will grow stronger.  I will heal,
the doctors say, using a calendar to mark
my progress.  I have my own timetable:
forsythia and dogwood, lilac and tulips.  All
through those fragile spring flowers, I will
heal, until the daisies of summer claim
the world and my sick bed is just a memory
like my neighbor’s magnolia tree in full
bloom and the unseen setting sun.