A Greek Myth
Mother wore a nightgown and peignoir, the white filmy kind,
walked barefoot out the front door and into our back yard
to sit in her crescent-moon-shaped rose garden,
her tangled hair caught in the rattan chair.
Those were the days when she got out of bed before noon.
O Etoile de Hollande, her favorite deep red rose—so fragrant.
Did she imagine it could be heaven, as she sat motionless
with her breakfast tray, melba toast, the loose tea leaves
floating in the china pot?
When I was in third grade my father paid me to make his breakfast
before he went to work early in the morning.
Bacon, toast, fried eggs, coffee—I served him
at the somber mahogany table
where he ate alone, wearing his Air Force uniform.
Much later, when my parents moved again,
there was no rose garden.
On good days, she climbed a stunted apple tree
and set her tray on the low gnarled branch in front of her.
My father pointed to the tree when I came home from college once.
When she came into an inheritance
she spent the cash on trips to Ireland and some Greek islands,
going by herself, never told me, and invested the rest
with hopes of getting rich but the broker swindled her.
Gone, except for this picture she kept of wildflowers in Delos—
She used to sing—I am weary unto death—