tulips and grief

The Tulips in Our Yard – A Poem

I see the tulips in our yard
And I remember
When I used to be excited about spring

Spring meant summer was near
And summer meant time outside with you

Days frolicking in the sun
Evenings lounging in the sultry heat out in our yard
Me swatting mosquitoes
You not

Smells and sounds of summer

The scent of chicken on the grill wafting through the air
The grill that lies dormant now

The thump thump of you pounding wood into place
On whatever your latest project is
Fence, deck, enclosure, table, chair, container

The tinkling of your prized fountain
With the water spurting out of the heron’s beak

The roar of the lawn mower as you walk back and forth, back and forth
wearing your bright green ear protectors
Hot sun beating down on your arms and back

The tangy salty smell of your skin
When you come to me for a hug, dripping with perspiration
And you laughing as you throw your arms wide and say, Give me a little hug
And me smiling as I accept your taunt
And pull you in close
Sweat and all

And I say, Let’s take a swim – you need it

The sound of your antics in the pool
Every day you pretend to slip and slide down the incline into the deep center
Every day, you yell, Whooooooaaaaah!
And dip down beneath the cold water

And every day, I roll my eyes and laugh
Because you are such a nut
You are my nut

And every evening we sit under the gazebo drinking wine
And you say, We should sleep out here
And I say, Okay, let’s do it
And you say, We need a lanai, someday we’ll have a lanai

But we didn’t get a lanai
And we never slept out under the stars in our yard
And we never will

And seeing the tulips in our yard
Reminded me
I used to be excited about spring

Because spring meant summer was near
And summer meant time outside with you.

May 4, 2018

About the author

Katherine Billings Palmer is a technical writer, poet, and essayist from Garden City, Michigan. She’s won several academic writing awards, including first place in the University of Michigan Dearborn Critical Essay Contest for her work about poet John Donne: “‘The Sun Rising’: A Lover’s Boast.”

In 2017, Katherine’s husband, Rick, died of complications from small cell lung cancer. She wrote a series of poems and essays about her struggles to cope with her grief. I Wanted to Grow Old With You is available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions.

Her latest book, A Widow’s Words: Grief, Reflection, Prose, and Poetry – The First Year was published in January 2019 and is also available on Amazon.com.

Katherine is a guest blogger for the Hope for Widows Foundation and writes about her grief journey at www.TheWritingWidow.com.

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