Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Life After Bloom

My neighbor’s magnolia tree outside my sick bed window is waving its branches. Dusk is settling and the wind has died down, so it’s just a gentle sway, like a sassy lady swishing her skirt back and forth. I cannot catch the setting sun from my confined view, but I can see the yellow hue it casts on the tree’s white buds. My mother, when she first saw my neighbor’s magnolia, said those trees were fine the first days they bloom, but then they drop dead 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. Tomorrow, if I am well enough, I will stand on the sidewalk and inhale the blossom’s thick fragrance. I will watch the flowers fade from white to yellow to brown, then fall across my neighbor’s front lawn. The doctors say I will heal. They chart my recovery on a map of days. I have my own timetable: forsythia and dogwood, lilac and tulips, and when the daisies of summer reclaim the world, my sick bed will fade like the blossoms on my neighbor’s magnolia, and then the tree will be just a tree, no longer in bloom but rooted.

                        "Life After Bloom" appears in the current issue of The Prose-Poem Project.