most evenings find mummy pacing down cooling

paths in a blaze of blossoms. nothing that lived in

guyana can be nursed here, so instead her resistance

is found in the bud of hydrangeas, gladiolas, and a love

of hummingbirds. the most common of flowers

will be tended – during the summer she glories in the

rightness of blooming, dedicating hours to pulling

errant weeds that choke the root.


even in winter she is pledged to nursing life

in the bitterest of Maryland snow, think on the four lime trees

sheltering in our house, by the dining table, forcing

my blustering father to cower at least for a short while

in its branches, neighbors come by to exclaim

at the impossible orchard reared among wood planked walls.


my mummy the stubborn farmer, laughing proudly

by its fruit. requests for advice returned with exacting

directions on wind, sun, and timing, yet when my sister

and I hear her, what we think of are two little girls

reared less gently then this – her a young lonely mother

with sometimes brutal hands, but here I am

crying at the lesson of her bowed back in the garden,

hands dug into a mire of dirt, stubbornly

willing love into life.