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Shadow and Light: The Transitory

Summer, 2004

Christine Klocek-Lim


She remembers the way her mother loved marigolds,
the way her father vined his roses on the door
but can't make bones of their years,
can't plant them deep in a plot to rest.
They come back up.

She thinks every generation must walk around with them:
invisible skeletons clacking at each step,
hanging like grim earrings
from the heads of daughters now grown.

It's a thought she tries to banish
but memories grab and don't let go.
They grip her hair, her skin, as she walks the cemetery
where stalks of flowers droop everywhere
like spines bowed by age
though her parents' grave is bare of grass and blooms.
Their bones have not yet quieted enough
to bear the weight of plants and tears
and they spare no thought for her,
for faded marigolds or the way the joints
of her body crack but don't let go.
Memory beguiles her
but vines no roses on her door,
drops no bright marigolds on her floor.