Bringing it Almost Back Again

Four stems of lilacs on the counter

in a gold vase waft their scent

across the small kitchen where

she stands at the old stainless sink

washing  and rewashing leaf lettuce

muddied by last night’s rain

a fragrance too long forgotten

that unveils a shimmering chimera

of towering bushes alongside

a dry stone grotto from her

childhood where she came

to place a flower wreath

on the plaster Madonna

across from the nuns’ convent

in the churchyard

although she was never

the child chosen to mount

the blue draped ladder

As she shakes drops from lime green leaves

she can feel her hands sticky

then in that early summer heat

clutching fragile spikes of iris and last tulips

cascades of spirea, heavy-headed roses

lilacs all wound round in wet paper

cones of deep purple French ones

nestled beside panicles of palest blue

rarer creamy clusters their heady essence

somehow holding innocence

wrapped in belief tiny petal crosses

that made her silent and awestruck

a moment lost until now, it being years

since she saw the place, never returning

after that day to more than grottoes

until now as she recalls wind

lifting her communion veil, the pinch

of her white shoes, stained white gloves

from the bleeding iris; buries her face

in the purple stems and cries, almost wishing

she could bring it all back again.