For Rob


Here, at eye level, are the last of the lilacs.
Not a heady purple, but a quiet color,
a lavender as muted as Grandma’s soap
after weeks of washing. And they’re not
the luscious bunches she’d display
in tall green jars on her windowsill!
These lilacs are the remnants of spring,
holding on despite restless branches,
surging stems, roots with lungs of foremen
in steel-toed boots barking, Let’s keep
the line going
. On this May evening
I draw them near, capture their will
to keep on living, their brief shadow
of perfume.


Red Wheelbarrow, 2011