Posts Tagged ‘forgetfulness’

Your birthday. I forgot it.
After all these years, I imagine
that comes as no surprise.
Still, I am no less sorry for it.
I was playing badminton with my son
yesterday when I remembered.
Remember how you and I played
badminton for hours and hours in the field
that day? How long the days were then.
Last weekend I planted greens in our yard.
I thought of you and your garden boxes
and how many meals
we have eaten surrounded
by corn, squash, tomatoes and peppers.
I can’t grow any of those things here.
Too high. Not all seeds grow
where they’re planted. And even
if they do, they don’t survive.
But already some of the lettuce
and baby bok choy have come up.
Arugula, too. I suppose
now is the time to thin them,
now when they’re tiny.
This is always the hardest part for me.
How to choose which one
of the seedlings should live?
I remember how your mother
would grow lettuces in pots
outside your door.
At my home, we ate only iceberg,
and so I was shocked at the colors
that grew there on your porch.
Your birthday. That was
the first time we went out together,
were we eleven? Twelve? I’m too lazy
to do the math. We were young,
and you’d invited all those adults
to your party. I was shocked
that a girl could be friends
with grown ups. How much you taught me.
Like how to eat lettuce that was red
or dark green. How to enjoy foreign movies
with subtitles. How to run rivers
and sing. How to say yes to someone
and keep saying yes to them
even when everyone else
tells you to say no.
I don’t remember which of us
won the badminton games.
I would guess that we didn’t play
for score. Isn’t it funny, the way
the memories thin themselves.
And friendships, too, how
so many of the seeds sown
years ago started strong,
even blossomed,
but bolted, or never grew fruit.
But you and I, we are more like
the oregano plant that finds
new ways to survive. Even if
the garden is rototilled, turned,
and dried, the roots escape and find new
places to thrive. Still,
we are both the kind of woman
who likes to water things
so they grow. Your birthday.
Happy Birthday. I’m sorry
I’m late. Even these near-summer days
seem so short. Here, some water
from my heart to yours.

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