‘Spring Letter from the South’ by Keetje Kuipers

Mother, it’s like summer here. I miss
the way the mountains get cold at night,
draw their shoulders up. In the evenings
we walk through the old neighborhoods,
past the frayed houses where magnolias
collapse their heavy bosoms against
each roof’s pitched elbows. Everything
the baby does — proclaiming song-words
to the birds, commanding trees
to hold still or spill their guts —
is magic I haven’t given up on yet.
That pollen-rot smell is starting again:
one year later and it’s like a year
hasn’t passed. When she sleeps pressed against
me, we still feel so young — all of us.
Even the cemetery is beautiful
this time of year. Do you remember
when you were here? It’s like that.

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