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Traveling Back, After Years

Visit to My Aunt

The long day's drive

from low elevation to 6,000 feet

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a film rewinding: lilacs

in bloom over fences, birch and maple

full-leaf, then retracted to lime green, daffodils

for the second time this spring.

Now bare trees make an old mosaic

of the sky, only the willow

misting with green.

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But every season crests

with color in my memory: crocus purple

to late yellow mums, your clustered sweet william

and scattered sweet pea,

the crepe-paper red of poppies.

It's my child-body

that walks up your drive, the beds

prepared and waiting, a dark glisten

where your shovel turned soil,

the first fringe of double tulips

under bony lilac branches.

In the quiet and clean of your house,

plentiful light through sheer priscillas,

I am treated as though

you've prepared all year for this.

When I leave carrying sugared almonds

and dried fruit, I imagine

you sit for a while, small hands white

in your lap, then begin at once

to prepare for my return.

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