“That Year” by Susan Laughter Meyers

Yellow Flowers
Image by Dawn Estrin

for my mother

When the black-eyed susans begin to bloom
in the backyard, and the moonbeam coreopsis
bursts into tiny stars, I think of the year

I banished yellow from my life. It was the year
I dug up the lantana, when I didn’t plant
narcissus and all the buttery bulbs

but chose white, and a little blue, for the garden
without knowing that I was readying
for two long years of her dying. The next spring

I painted our kitchen, once a lemony gloss, ecru.
I threw out from my closet all the blouses
hinting, from their hangers, of glad canaries.

Beginning that fall I dressed in a dull haze
of beige, toning myself down for the end.
I ignored the incandescence of morning, the amber

of dusk, and leaned to clouds billowed in black.
The week in November she died I loaded the trunk
of my car with flats of pansies, three sacks of bulbs.

I wanted my hands working the dirt, a dark loam
that would spring into jonquils, daffodils—bright
coronas of yellow, and yellow, and yellow.

 

 

Susan Laughter Meyers is the author of the full collection Keep and Give Away and the chapbook Lessons in Leaving. Her poetry has also appeared in The Southern Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, Subtropics, and numerous other journals and anthologies. A long-time writing instructor, she lives with her husband in rural Givhans, SC. That Year first appeared in The Southern Review, was reprinted in Keep and Give Away, ©2006, University of South Carolina Press, and is reproduced by r.kv.r.y. with permission.

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