“…Mothers weep in the corners of those paintings
while a man, each morning, sweeps the church floor.”
~ Connie Voisine, “The Altar” by George Herbert
Every day, dirt prints on the kitchen floor,
and under the furniture, thick new pelts
of dust. Perhaps this detritus that gathers
is the sediment of dried-up tears? Taking out
the trash and pushing the bin against the far end
of the driveway, I see petite roses in bloom.
Blood-red, pressed between the fence and the water
meter. Pitimini, once I heard a woman call them:
she made floral arrangements for the church, came in
the side door of the rectory, careful to take off
her shoes and coat in the vestibule. Unrolling sheets
of newsprint on tile, she laid out ferns, divided
showy chrysanthemums from tall gladioli; and, finishing,
tucked the slighter blooms in between the hardier stems—
baby’s breath, those miniature roses. Her hands did not seem
to mind delving into their cache of sharp hooks,
guiding scratchy stems into clear vases filled with water.
I cannot remember whether she was Isabel, or Delia, or Florinda.
She came to freshen the flowers every other day, before the sun
was up. I don’t know why the ghost of her name meets me here
at the end of the driveway, pointing out the flowers.
In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.