Picking Zinnias

It is a muggy summer day,
The first of August.


I walk into the overgrown grass
which I don’t feel like mowing
to pick flowers,
which feels therapeutic.
A song about being still
in the presence of God
floats through my mind.


First trip: long cuts of
black-eyed susans.
Inside to trim and drop
them into a canning jar.
Mom is so good
at arranging them,
but I’m not. She also
loves canning jars,
will have many bouquets
like this around her house
by now.


Back out for the large
pom-pom zinnias,
light and dark pink.
Pale yellow.
I planted these in
spring when Mom and Dad
were here for Easter.
Two crates of zinnias
and tons of vegetables,
jars of honey from the
local farmers’ market.


In and out again for
the smaller zinnias,
the ones around the deck
that spread outward
more than upward.
The ones between the
rose bushes Dad planted.


Picking therapeutic flowers,
some of my mom’s
favorites. Fragments
of the quiet music
still drifting in and out
of the bright orange
and pink petals.
Somehow helping
to disperse the fear
that crawls up my spine
like the cancer growing
around my mother’s.



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