And So She Missed Early Spring – Amy Scanlan O’Hearn

In the infusion suite
women come and go
amidst the lounge seating.

A woman screams
and everyone listens –
little else is being said.

Women knit scarves
or afghans or shawls
and watch the televisions
hanging above their heads.

A few children quietly play.

On a bookshelf a sign –
Take a book or leave one.

Mothers and daughters
with the same bodies
go arm in arm,

except one is sick
and the other is well enough
to accompany her

to the Infusion suite.

An old man is out in front,
my mother whispers to me
in the middle of the night.

I ask if he is good looking.
when I am really thinking
it is my father. He
beckons her across.

I was dreaming of babies
and my grandmother,
of my grandmother
holding a baby.

We speak
of what we’re feeling –
tangled and restless
thirsty and tired.

I have had enough of the days
and the nights and my mother
has had enough.

4:00 a.m. Awake again.
At week’s end her eyes
will shade and go grey.

Our conversation volleys slow.
She strains to hear, laughs
faintly at the funny things I say.

I fill in the blanks where her
funny things used to be.

The forsythia is ready
and my mother asks for
a cutting.

When we were kids
she snapped its branches
outside our door,
brought the switches in,

forced their blooms in vases
throughout the rooms,
its shocking yellow petals
fell on surfaces and floors.

I have forgotten, and so
she missed her early spring.

A O'HearnAmy Scanlan O’Hearn is a writer and teacher in Southern NJ. Her short stories appear in Helen; Bacopa Review and Per Contra. Her poem “Fences” received First Place in the Oregon Poetry Association New Poets Category 2014; “On Days My Mother Smelled of Fish” appears in MER Vol. 13. She is an Associate Poetry Editor for Typehouse Literary Magazine.