This is the day which the Lord has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.
A maniac for picnicking,
She’d pack us up to go
The very first thing in the spring;
Sometimes we sat in snow!
But we were well into the year;
The swans had all long gone.
We’d shed, like leaves, our nagging fears.
The lake went pink and calm.
Her hair’d come back; her light, low laugh;
Her cancer in “remission,”
A state that gave us some relief
From pain and vain religion.
My dad had let me start the fire.
I saw my mom was proud
Of how the flames kept growing higher;
They wouldn’t flicker out.
I’ve clutched this day near fifty years
But always felt so stupid
That it could bring the sting of tears
When there was nothing to it:
My sister makes a small bouquet
Of weeds and faded asters,
But I can’t hear my mother say
What she bends low to ask her.
My brother’s down beside the shore;
I see his silhouette.
My father calls out, as before,
“Now don’t go getting wet!”
My mother leans against a tree.
She sighs. I hear her say
Across the half a century,
“It’s been a lovely day.”
Copyright © BOA Editions, Ltd 2012
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of BOA Editions LTD.