the day before closing, a poem (for nana)

ktp 1964 nightgown841 oleander drive three sisters yellow doorktp 1964 backyard tree

The Day Before Closing (for nana)

Out in the yard there is the tree
you planted when I was born.
It’s tropical, fast-growing, but

even so — I can’t circle my arms
around the trunk! The thing
towers above the house, thick

branches like beams, supporting
my sky of childhood. Tomorrow this
place will belong to someone else:

the old gardenias, the dense hedge
of bamboo out by the laundry line,
the bent but still perfectly good mailbox.

Please let them leave a few things
the same. I’ve gone through closets,
cabinets, a dozen times but I keep

finding more old letters, more
scraps of paper bearing your quick,
vivid writing. There, amid

the dustballs glimmers one more
strand of your hair, catching
the wan light, curled and silvery

against the bare floor.
I slip it into my pocket,
then remember how you used to

put on your hose, sitting
on the edge of the bed, sighing
softly as you pulled the rolls

of nylon up your lovely legs.
Just as abrupt comes one last vision
of myself, at five, dancing wildly

in your filmy yellow nightgown,
whirling around the cleared
living room to your applause.


Filed under poetry

3 responses to “the day before closing, a poem (for nana)

  1. Khaula Nazir

    Very well written.


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