My Mother’s Garden

empty nest

In the quiet morning
as finches feed
and mourning doves scour the ground for seed
among hollyhock shadows
it comes to me
why, like my mother
I arrive at gardening
in my middle years
with a daughter too tart and tender
to understand.
She pushes my nurturing away
with a roll of her eyes
and a flip of her hand.

Wings still wet, she escapesswallowtale
with the determination of a butterfly,
colorful, not easily captured –
in search of sweet, easy nectar,
and who could blame her?

My job, nearly done
I am finding my way
keeping to myself
attending to the plants
that stay rooted and multiply

that turn their faces toward the harshest sky

and stand up straight after a summer rain.

Hollyhocks