Chamomile

They dried its flowers 
and stems. 

He tells me its name
in his native tongue.

I do not understand, at first
until I smell its fragrance
floral and sweet;
subtle.

Chamomile.

He directs me upstairs
in broken English;
I pray I understand enough.

"Grab a bunch,
wrapped
in newspaper."

There in the attic
of the duplex that
two brothers 
made homes,

I find the dried stems
and flower -

Grown in the garden
that's fed family
for 60 years.


I bring down a bundle
and she, before she lost
herself,
stands at
the stove,
boils a pot of water
and grabs a handful
as the water simmers.

She makes tea

she makes tea for 
her and I
but doesnt drink a sip

she watches me
drink

she smiles.

Now
years later
chamomile 
will remind me of them;
their home and their 
garden.

How fitting.

This flower 
holds many 
salves

Its simple yet
honored

Its humble
and enduring.

Chamomile 
becomes
the symbol
of my roots.  



View

 
on your back porch
you do not see mountains
or ocean waves
the town of Falerna
or the promenade to the sea;

there's no distance
or depth
in this view.

I watch you
sitting -
looking out at
the garden you built
on the land that's your own.

Is it the sustenance,
the stability
you see?
Is it the
family
the existence -
life
are you seeing your reflection?

Answers were never
in your words.

I find them
in that small space
within
the tomato stalks
and sunflowers

He looks out
at the plot of land

the one that
offered the grandest of gifts.

I do not tell him in words;
that's not our shared language.

he gave us life
and in return
i lived.