The Flowers In My Window
(for Rebecca, who lost her battle with
multiple myeloma July 12, 2003)
Below are people in the streets
crowding hard on brute concrete
sirens, gunshots, hit-and-run shots,
unreal and distant as Peru.
I kick off my shoes
and give my tired feet a soak,
recall some long-forgotten joke
I'd made, and how my sister grinned,
and watch the jar of flowers in my window.
There's loose gangs lusting for a fight,
mirth and switchblades in the night
winos stumble, hoodlums rumble,
remote and vague as reverie.
I drink a little tea,
recall how sister's bonds get broken,
silent words we should have spoken,
and wonder if our blood has thinned,
and watch the jar of flowers in my window.
      (Somewhere beyond this urban scum,
      the diesel fumes and foul exhaust,
      lies a vital heartbeat lost.
      Somewhere beneath a different sun
      beyond this gritty urban stone
      the flowers in my jar had grown.)
I shrug off grime, shut out uproar,
I shrugged off contact, shut the door
on dingy pawnshops, cindery blacktops;
but trash and tumult don't concern me.
Oh I ache to make the journey
to where she lives across the sea
and carry my sister home with me
to laugh and talk, have our lives to spend
watching flowers on my windowsill again.


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