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My Father's Garden

I stand in my father's garden
My flesh against the night air

Here I have watched roses
Dance in the wind
And daisies bloom
For days on end

Here I have felt the seasons change
And watched the moods of the sky
And learned the silence of the stars
And shared the wind with the trees

With tomorrow's dawn
I leave this garden

When I return
It will be a gray damp dawn
In late November

I picked flowers for my mother's grave
White mums and two rosebuds still bloomed
How I marveled at those rosebuds
So young and spring-like
This near the winter's first snow

Gathered at the grave
My father stared into the ground

My sister took pictures
My nephews stood distant
Silent at the grave of the grandmother
Known only as a woman taken too soon by death

Father shared with me his rosebushes--

His white hair flows in the gray misty light
Aged-His brain losing touch with his mortal home
His mind loosening the bonds of time and space and memory
He talks to me of his friends-the roses

As he speaks, another rosebud
Hidden from the threatening winter
Near the shelter of the redwood fence
Catches our eye

Dad cuts the stem with his old worn pocketknife--

A gust of wind breaks the clouds with a burst of sunlight
I look up as this ancient man holds the rosebud
I recall all the windy spring days I stood in this garden
Waiting for my father's roses to bloom

I touch his shoulder--
I take the rosebud
To find a vase
That this rose might bloom
Through tonight's killer frost