My mother dreamt a tree

that gave of its leaves, bountiful
though tinted antique green, dull
as verdigris. In the morning,

she explained: these must mean
greenbacks, crisp bills that guests
would pin on the skirts of the wedding

dress she was sewing for me. I knew
it wasn’t really mine, but each time
she made trousseaus for the town’s

fairer daughters I wondered
if she was practicing too for me.
Drawing and measuring, she pinned

the fabric down to the tissue shape
of shoulders, placing her palm flat
in the rigid valley above the heart.

And yes in time I married, even
carried flowers in my arms. But I never
danced around that maypole of a tree.

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