Lilac Time


She loved the scent

so we would steal them for her

gather great armfuls

heedless of the hours

of labor: turning the soil,

planting deep, enriching and

oh, the endless watering

that first year. We were young

and loved her, for a time.


Now a matron, solid

in middle-age, I bury my nose

in blooms outside my daughter’s

school, after a morning volunteering

in the library on research projects —

perhaps the diametric opposite

of romance. The lilacs seem

to know it, their scent a faint

echo of what once was.


We were young, loving, careless;

not even understanding how

to do the necessary work,

the patient cultivation of day

after day, year after year.