—for Karen Lewis
Stand before this home that you’ve built. There,
the rose bush by the door with its blooms, the knife
diagonal in the frame—it’s what your father used
to break apart the mud on his boots. Look behind
you. Do you see the place where the old tree
once grew? The swings and the slide, a lemon slice,
the rubber we held to stay afloat as you called
from below your report: two beauties in flight
and I, golden-haired, brimming with speed
lifting from my plastic seat, touched the tip
of the branch with my tennis shoe. Now listen,
the chick isn’t infinite without warmth, presence.
The rose doesn’t open without tenderness. The knife
doesn’t slice without restraint. The years do not wait
for you, yet there you are within them. Bottle up
this home for the road. Hold it close before you pour
it someplace new. Remember, it was you who made
the two little girls infinite on a warm afternoon.
Marie Peebles holds master’s degrees in Literature and Library Science from the University of North Texas. Currently they reside in Texas, where they can be found working at their library job and contemplating human-ness. To them, writing is a form of connection and transcendence.
© 2021, Marie Peebles