clouds and alstromeria, by Wendy Bourke

clouds and alstromeria
by Wendy Bourke

the window had been left open
and the room was cold, although,
as fresh as a flower …

I felt light headed and lay down
on the half-made bed, where
the fragrance of laundered cotton
stirred to mind a slumbering memory,
of the sheets that mother and I
would hang on the clothesline …

in winter, they were so stiff
we would fold them like cardboard
when we took them down …
she’d iron them completely dry
and perfectly pressed,

smelling – so clean –
the way, I imagined,
fluffy clouds would smell
if you could bury your face in them …

and then, today, as I rested quietly,
it came back to me and fell
in delicate heart-shaped petals
flecked with crimson drops in icy mists:
white alstroemeria – delivered – unsigned,
in flurries of snow and billowing sheet sails …

I remember carrying the little bouquet
to my mother as she lay, on her bed
– silent and tear-stained –

I felt closer to her, in that moment,
than I ever had or would, again

though, to this day, I don’t know why she cried
– it would forever remain, for me –
a mystery, she took with her to her grave

Wendy Bourke lives in Vancouver, Canada where she writes, goes on long rambling walks gathering photos and inspiration – and hangs out with her family (especially her two young grandsons). After a life loving words and scribbling poetry lines on pizza boxes and used envelopes, Wendy finally got down to writing “in earnest” six years ago. She received first prize in the Ontario Poetry Society’s Sparkle and Shine contest in 2014 and her poems have appeared in dozens of anthologies, journals and chapbooks.

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