Picket Fence
by Michael Escoubas

Come May, the month of fragrant air,
Mom, in bib overalls and straw hat,
begins decorating the picket fence.

It is the season of moist earth, of planting
petunias, dancing bluebells, and rainbows
of impatiens refreshing life. She calls me

to her side, gives me a trowel, rake, and seeds.
We work together, hands in dirt, digging
out dandelion roots we missed last year.

Fingers fashion earthen holes sized to snuggle
petunia starts, then pack the earth back in
tamping it down with our thumbs. Sometimes

her hands touch mine, sometimes smiling eyes
find mine. I wonder what she might be thinking
as she wipes her brow with a flowered kerchief.

Though Mom has long since passed, each spring
my mind returns to her, working at the picket fence.
Once again, our fingers mingle in the soft earth.

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