cyclamen and loss
Each Autumn, your tuberous roots stretch their arms after their long summer sleep.
Your wooded stems become rich and strong with purples and green, with new life.
And each year, as naked trees stand against darkening skies and evenings drawing in, your blooms rise above your heart-shaped leaves, bringing a bold defiant cheer to the leaking conservatory of my aging grandmother’s house.
These past years, her arthritic fingers, in last vestige of their nimble past, deftly trimmed you of fading blooms. And you flourished in her old woman’s care, in her knowing of your fickle drinking habits, of your love of winter’s sun and too, its chill.
But this year, this winter, my grandmother has gone.
My grief stares at your blooms behind the conservatory glass. I am numb – no bobbing grey head in the conservatory space, no impossibly floral apron, no electric ocean eyes in that empty place.
The wind whips bitter and draws my breath. I stand, lifeless, wooden, like your cyclamen stems in their summer death.
But from my winter mind a promise comes – that all of your life and love, my beloved mother of mother, all of it, will lay deep in me, deep in my own tuber heart. And you will bloom through me, perennially, for as long as I shall live.
And in spring, when cyclamen blooms fade and die, then daffodils waving in fresh spring breezes will trumpet this deep abiding truth – that heart-planted love will never leave us.
What survives of us, is love.