The willow of your child-
hood: did you confuse it with

the weeping bottlebrush,
its masses of drooping red

inflorescence, its clustered
filaments flushed with the orange

of pollen? There too, the subject
is that old war between beauty

and domesticity, a nation
of girls taught to leave

no signature on furniture but for
the sheen of wax applied with a bit

of rag. And that adjective,
that bit about weeping: not

the good, cleansing tears leading
to weightless joy; not even

the rhinestone variety of afternoon
soap operas, but real weeping.

Which means childhood was never
a tranquil pond fringed with red

or mauve or yellow, only ring upon
ring of soft green tethers.


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