The memory comes, a small sepia snapshot
with black triangle corners
to hold it in the pages of
days gone by.
Then frame-by-frame a blurry film
The limbs move. The head turns.
Our eyes meet.
Her hand reaches for the flowers
that I’d found
pristinely waving in the breeze
on the mountain ridge.
She takes the bedraggled flowers
from my hot little hand
tenderly she straightens the stems
“Are these for me? You picked these for me?”
She looks again at me.
‘It’s so pretty up there, Mother, You should see it.”
Slow smooth, the curve of her mouth begins
and the little teeth peek out and she laughs.
“How far did you go? Were you at the top?”
I nod, somehow believing if only she would come and see
she would stretch the boundaries she has set for me
to forever and beyond the long blue horizon.
“Someday,” she promised. “We’ll go together.”
She fills the blue glass vase,
tucks in the shooting stars, the limp poppies,
the yellow lanterns.
There is no photograph, but in my heart,
my mother’s smile, her hand reaching toward the flowers
and my hand, empty now.