103. Pan


Take your roses when you leave.
All the world’s women will
throw themselves at your weary feet,
shower the flowers
with tears of longing and defeat.
Try to be a big man then
and leave each of them a petal –
a particle of your infinite self,
a meaningless symbol
to obstruct the recognition
of the difference
between Love and love.

When you go,
scatter some of those wild herbs
across my bedroom floor –
the same kind we found a few yards away
from your childhood home,
that morning when you told me
about your mother.
How she hummed
to herself underneath the poplars,
while nettles crept dangerously close to her bare feet.
Like her I, too, accepted your gift of weeds
and let other women love you for
the fragrant red petals of your adulthood.

Only your old ma and me, who saw you
sneak under our skirts in the summer:
a mischievous boy with a freshly washed, smooth face,
only the two of us, who got daisies
instead of fancy flowers
do not need lies to forgive you
when you leave without saying your goodbyes
in the fall,
then return come spring
without a rose to spare
because you know our gardens
will never be as bare as others’ rooms,
they will always be in bloom,
for you.


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