Brent House

Portrait of My Mother with Flowers

The wind sprinkles pear blossoms
to the ground, even
beauty upsets her desire

for perfection, for order,
so long as white blooms
hold, stamen far from stigma.

She had plotted her backyard
fig, blueberry, pear
with certainty & produce

under widdershins shadows
of loblolly pine,
a symmetry of mown lawn.

The trees recognize her touch
& quiver in fear,
songbirds quieten their songs.

Catkins bend from pecan limbs,
& plums turn purple
as bruised & unbroken flesh.

The roots underground straighten
in fear of her blade
& burrow to fertile soil.

Her dress, covered with peonies,
nature obeys her,
but there is a difference

between love of the wildness
& cultivation—
between beauty & order.

I have seen her strip blossoms
from the branch as quick
as a scabbard from a sword.