I missed the Japanese maple bloom.
I was washing my mother’s hair in the stream.
I was gathering leaf-litter for the hummingbird mum
who takes only a week to thread her nest. I was washing
my mother’s hair in the nectar. I was trimming the dead.
I was brushing fields of salt. I was sponging her smell.
I was waiting for the prayer to rinse clean, leave the sweet
silked in her strands. I was waiting by the glass for the wings
to cluster and think she was flourishing. I was waiting for the last
wintered leaf to curl itself into falling. I was waiting for the smallest
sting when it hit the earth, and for grief to stop cawing my sleep.