Frances Ruhlen McConnel The 2River View, 6.2 (Winter 2002)

Reburial in Springtime

Where I live now, where I find my desert home,
near cliffs of decomposing granite, in landslide country,

where prickly pear forms its unlikely fruit, its clusters of bruised thumbs,
along gullies and dry washes, the same flowers

of our old Arctic spring—lupine, poppy, and Indian paintbrush—
flare up blue and golden and red along the stark slopes.

Mother, your death sewed up my young life, sealed me in dread,
and my heart was a pin-cushion, hugging its sparkles of pain.

Today, clouds rally with the soft whir of a planet
passing its aphelion, coming back to us, back to where we were.

When rain licks the snow of Mount Baldy,
gathering into its flow what is dazzling crystal,

I recall the locker—those gray cubicles of frost—
that you lay in all winter, like meat in cold storage,

until spring yawned its black and ravenous mouth,
opening like space opens, once and forever,

and swallowed a whole constellation, the star cluster, Deb Ruhlen,
whose atoms went careening, skipping from their orbit,

to spring up in the breath of lupine;
we are still breathing you now.

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