Home Poetry Yellow Flowers

Yellow Flowers

by Stephanie Alfaia

I used to walk down the hallway in robes
that felt like they came from a different century,
freely twirling my tongue around languages.
You see, her house was my Palace of Versailles then.

My mother becomes a better doctor with every cough.
She skipped pig dissections and clinical studies 
but always worked hard and late.
Bones boiled into stock with carrots that sliced her fingers,
she poured canja, Jell-O, and ginger down our throats
and we could speak again.

When I pet my fish to death, 
She flushed it down the toilet with a cool,
“Death is part of life, my dear”
followed by a deep nurturing hug.

As a child, she opened the front door
to a man who asked for a glass of water.
When she returned to the porch, 
with Grandmother’s crystal filled to the brim,
he had taken her purse. 
She blinked and drank down to the last sip.

When things broke,
she encouraged us to fix it over disposing of it.
When things vanished
she said, “leave it, it’ll reappear.”
When it rained, it poured
but I always found yellow flowers on my pillow.

Coming out of Starbucks one afternoon, 
she confided she was no longer happy.
That she was unsure how to move forward with her life.
The woman who came when you were sick, 
crystal glass in hand,
The woman who looked her parent’s death in the eyes
and found the strength to smile again,
The woman who taught you how terribly dangerous
but terribly beautiful the world is, 
becomes the woman who tells you
she no longer feels confident in herself.
As if her entire life isn’t a testament of
independence, strong will, and more than enough.

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