Among the Lilies

My liberal mother, with her bristling  
Yankee blood, tolerates the South,  
because certain charms, like sunshine,  
Key lime pie, and Spanish moss, settle  
in the blood, reorder the structure  
of one’s cells; but also because  
she built her life with him here,  
their quarter-century marriage thriving  
amid the steamy groves, bounty of flowers.  
When the cancer takes him, she buries him  
close.  Though she is cracked in half,  
she arranges everything, and we flock  
to her side.  Cemetery clerks,  
with contracts, insist on scripture  
for the headstone, as if such a union  
needed to be sanctioned by anything  
other than the ancient goddess of love.  
We search the books, and she weeps  
over the Song of Solomon 6:3:  I am my  
beloved’s and my beloved is mine.  He grazes  
among the lilies.  Later, she will lie down  
next to him, under the sleek black stone,  
with its elegant cut, genteel columns, shelter  
of the oak.  People will come, clutching Bibles,  
calling to the Lord for her salvation, chiding us  
to pray for the soul and its sins.  But on that day,  
with the spicy scent of blossoms in the heavy air,  
and holier than any doctrine, a husband and wife  
will reach for one another.  Together, they will sing  
the song of the beloved, and that is all that matters.
*Note: This poem also appears in Yellow Mama 2/12
Written by pyrategurrll (Lauren Tivey)
Modified 14th April 2012
All writing remains the property of the author. Don't use it for any purpose without their permission.
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