In a windflower church, incense rises, whispers,
weaves through falling light—poured milk
through the window frames. Its soft white
petals fall on our faces.
In a primrose dress, dirty bottoms of my feet,
I laugh at my sister singing beside me--
her voice a caterwaul, a hundred rusted fifes, trumpets,
broken flutes in April sun.
Mama’s dress is a gardenia. Her eyes silence me.
Night comes, and she stands by the kitchen window,
her shadow leaning against violet light.
The sky trembles, and she holds
a cup of tea in her hands,
gazing out to the yard, watching four robins perch
beneath the willow moss, under gray spilled skies.
Listen for the robins, she tells me—they sing
as the storm approaches.
The smallest one, like a brown-red speck,
makes little hops away from his brothers,
sings a broken chip, a little squeal.
Mama tells me how God quiets all the angels
The sky grows tired, wilts—it sinks
into the blackest plum. Tremors and rainfall, and
I no longer see the robins. My sister
asleep upstairs. I burrow my face into a gardenia dress,
reach for a hand in the dark.
Listen for the robins, Mama tells me—they sing
when the storm has passed.