Poem for Marge

In the early days of the pandemic, when it was just my daughter and I in my mother’s garden, I would talk to our neighbor, Marge, through the ivy fence.

She would hand us avocados from her mother’s tree.

I listened to her talk about her love of cooking. I shared my desire to find land somewhere, and start my own garden.

She witnessed my daughter, Little M, as she grew from an infant into a toddler–all through the barrier of a green garden wall.

When the pandemic ended, we went for walks. I took my daughter in her stroller, and she told me stories of her family, her work.

Our last exchange was a few weeks ago, when I left a handwritten card for her and her family. They had gifted my daughter a bubble gun for her fourth birthday. Marge texted me to say thank you, and I texted her pictures of my daughter’s delight at the bubbles.

We’re planting a tree for Marge this weekend. Next week is her viewing.

I wrote a Patreon post that goes into the whole story behind this poem, but that’s private for my patrons. You’re always welcome to join, as you’ll be supporting me as a writer for $5/month.

Here’s the poem I wrote in honor of the time and space we shared together.

I want to make it into seed paper, and bury it alongside the tree.

🌳

Poem for Marge

Little M hides
when she hears helicopters.
A scuttle, a duck–
a tug at my dress,
she waits for the skies to go silent.

Waddles off to resume her play.

In my mother’s garden,
we hear Marge calling–“hi, Mayari.”
I carry her
down the slope, where we peak
through the garden wall.

Instead of a full face, we catch
soft eyes, gentle speech. I think of how life
is just a series of guesses,
of misinterpretations, and
angles.

Marge hands us avocados through the fence.
Little M takes them, running,
mistakenly calls her “grandma.”
A moment of love loops us in before we break
like waves against the shore.
The helicopters return. My mother’s garden
has passed its bloom. And Little M
getting farther away, her Auntie Marge
another distant face.

–Billimarie

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