the funeral and a birthday in May.

On my birthday in May, when you had to come home to grieve with your family,

I snipped a piece of honeysuckle vine and placed it in a small glass jar

so that I could watch the roots grow and fill the lighted space.

It was not the same vine that
you reverently plucked,


that made you smile as a child
at your grandmother’s funeral,
where you hid outside

and remembered

this place that we share
with Blue ridges and white rivers.

But to me,  it was the same vine
as I dutifully rooted it for you in my kitchen window
for your own goodbyes that you were not ready to see,
and for the things that we could not grow.

I have planted it now
that it has proven its growth,
flowering in spite of the confined space of a tiny jar.

the roots were wrapped around one another so tightly that
you could no longer see where one begins and the other ends.

you could no longer see the drops of a day between the spaces.

Now it sits in soil.
In a pot that was formed of earth.
It stretches around my kitchen window and yawns warmth into the sun.

Every time I look at it,
I see you smiling as the little boy
on his grandmother’s knee as she
tells him a southern lady’s tale with laughter and sweet tea.

And I know no good thing ever dies,

but remains
tangled in love at the roots, resting,
waiting to be raised to light.

J. Ann.


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