Maureen Sherbondy

Roses

My dead father still asks

for forgiveness. Years later

I set my own bushes in the yard,

watch as leaflets emerge

and thorns rise from the skin.


I recall him guiding my hands

to cut back the rose stems.

Each year we gathered

yellow, pink, and red

flowers, carried them inside.


Now I nourish these bushes 

instead of dark rooms

of anger, instead of those

big hands punching walls,

instead of palms slapping

my mother’s face.


Here are my father’s hands in the garden

guiding my own grown hands

he says, like this, do it this way.

I remember the vase of roses

we set on the pine table

lighting up the house for days.


Maureen Sherbondy’s most recent poetry book is Dancing with Dali. www.maureensherbondy.com