Issue January 23, 2012

Literary LEO 2012

POETRY — FIRST

My Mother’s Nature

BY DANIEL BRENNAN

Had I not been her son
I might have sighed at the way
the moiré silk dress fell limp from her hips
to taper and rustle about her fawnish white ankles.

Through apertures of lacquered leaves
I would watch her rollick through
the garden
sometimes preening or pruning,
watering or planting
— but seldom uprooting.

She curled her hands
around the spade-shaped finials
of our rusted fence
and smiled through windblown hair:
a voyeur at her bordello of blossoms
rife with pollen-speckled patron bees
and butterflies
with their stained-glass wings
and light-bulb filament legs.

In these moments,
it was safe to assume
that she was singing to herself.

She stepped into the flowerbed
and the mulch swallowed up her feet,
as if her love of plants
earned her secret permission to be one.

And she stood like a blossomed iris,
pinching her white dress at either edge,
my mother, in bloom
on no particular afternoon
in Summer.