Saturday, August 14, 2004
WALKING ALONG THE CHARLES RIVER PATH IN AUGUST,
I STOP AND HAVE A CONVERSATION WITH A ELDERLY STRANGER
Grace once saw a night-blooming cereus bloom.
It seemed to follow the moon or the stars, she said,
pursing her hand into a bud, fingers up,
to show me how it inched night after night,
nondescript and blind, around her yard.
She’d grown impatient and almost yanked it,
convinced it pined, homesick, for Florida.
It was worse than a weed. Brown. Strange. Morose.
But at last it opened. She showed me with her hand:
palm up, it quivered in the morning air.
And, in the darkness, oh, the sight, the smell --
Her eyes fell shut. Her hand sunk to her side.
Startled by sudden nightfall, words dispersed,
as, in her darkness, the cereus rebloomed.
I watched, impatient, squinting in the sun.