One look at the lilac, one smell
and my childhood is — dogs scratching at the sliding
glass door, bitsof bottles coming uplike grass in the grass, a dirty towel
down by the feetof the tree, Lysol cans, small
packets of Land O’Frostturkey meat —
there in front of me in spring,in the wonderfully fat rain,flowering purple and whatever
the pinkish purple is calledand the whiteones too. They smell like
my siblings, like the backs of my infantson’s ears, like my son
whom I would kill someone for.Before he was born I wouldn’t kill
anyone. But now I would.And after I’d get a coffee
from Starbucks, a coffee and a pieceof that amazing lemon-frosted
lemon cakeand think nothing of it,and read the paper and hold him
against my chestand listen to his body living,
alive outsidehis mother’s body, and the lilac
outside on the street, outsideeveryone, and heavy in the rain.
Copyright © 2018 by Matthew Dickman
All rights reserved.
Reproduced by Poetry Daily with permission
Founded in Chicago by Harriet Monroe in 1912, Poetry is the oldest monthly devoted to verse in the English-speaking world. Harriet Monroe’s “Open Door” policy, set forth in Volume I of the magazine, remains the most succinct statement of Poetry’s mission: to print the best poetry written today, in whatever style, genre, or approach.