Lilies of the Valley
And then everything blooms.
Snowdrops dot the hillside, redbuds blush dark pink,
and one morning the scent of lilacs
steals in through our window. My husband has purchased
a second cane, this one with a leather-
wrapped handle and handsome wood shaft, more elegant
than the drug store version we started with.
He walks in very small steps now . . . “for balance.”
For two days I’ve been trying to recall
the name of our handy kitchen slicer, without success.
And the name of that white-flowered bush . . .
gone for good? I imagine my words like petals, one
by one letting go of their little twigs.
I’d rather not remember that all these blooms – fireworks
of forsythia, the blood-red tulips –
are incarnations of ice and the slush it became.
One December my picture calendar promised,
“The new bread sleeps under the snow.” For now, we are
the new bread – hyacinths, lilacs, lilies of the valley.
Then we are snow.
- Margaret Holley 2016
Margaret Holley’s fifth book of poems is Walking Through the Horizon (University of Arkansas Press). Her work has appeared in Poetry, Gettysburg Review, Shenandoah, The Southern Review, and many other journals. Former director of Bryn Mawr College’s Creative Writing Program, she currently serves as a docent at Winterthur Museum.