Before you go,
give everything away
to someone who is staying.
someone whose job it is
to hold down the fort,
fold the sheets
light the candle and also
blow the candle out.
Take the socks off so your feet
remember the earth.
Don’t fly –
you’ll miss the valleys,
the abandoned cars,
the Indians, the coyotes.
The intersections and the signs,
the rutted road
the toothless man
pumping your gas.
Drive across the landscape slowly.
Look into the next car
and see the small child
who never sucked her thumb
but holds books in her hands
the whole alphabet stuck to her fingers.
Drive all of who you are –
the mother, the queen, the orphan
through Tennessee and New Mexico
to the unmoving freeways
of Southern California
where orange groves once bloomed.
Bury your memories into the same soil
your mother loved, let your fingers
hold the bulbs she held,
even the one that never bloomed.
Peer into the Over of all life
while still on your knees.
Then, sleep on the ground anywhere.
Find Venus, Jupiter, the Big Dipper.
Know the moon is tucked behind
the one small cloud,
inviting you to remember the sun.
When morning comes the Albatross
will be slapping their beaks to love.
You will wake to that sound,
the clouds now gone, your body drying
from last night’s storm.
Now you know this:
Your mother’s garden will always be there,
you don’t have to dig.
You are the bulb she delivered
back to the earth.
You are the bloom.

-Laura Lentz