|Every spring they would till the soil,
first with the spade, then the hoe and the rake.
He was the practical one, planting fruits and vegetables,
while she cultivated colorful beds of iris, petunia and tulips
On our knees, we gently put each bulb in its place
at the proper depth and spread the seeds along their furrows,
then covered them over, watered them down,
and rinsed our grimy hands with the garden hose.
In the summer, gorgeous red roses climbed up the trellis on the front porch.
A bed of lilies of the valley and the sweet bouquet of lilacs
greeted us at the back steps when we came in
for a lunch of luscious tomato sandwiches.
My brothers and I played on the swing that hung from a branch of the apple tree
until she sang out, “Dinner’s almost ready. Come wash your hands.”
In the kitchen, the aroma of pies baking--
spicy apple, creamy pumpkin, or tart rhubarb--
and the sultry African violet in its pot on the windowsill
welcomed us to heaven on earth.
The minutes, hours, and days flew by until my brothers and I were grown
and went our separate ways out into the world.
We chained ourselves to clocks and calendars,
bouncing from crisis to crisis as weeks, months, and years flew by,
and Time gobbled up life like some Pac Man monster.
The last time I went back, the flower gardens had gone to weed,
and the welcoming milieu in the kitchen was replaced
by the musty tinge of old newspapers and magazines stacked on the table.
The magazine on top was folded open to an article
about leg pains and circulation problems.