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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & General Editor
Volume 7, Number 4, December 2013

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Terri L. French
Huntsville, Alabama, USA


the language of flowers

I don’t miss her son. I’ve moved on and have been happily remarried for five years. I miss my ex-mother-in-law. It’s her 81st birthday. I didn’t want the next time I see her to be . . .

the sixth spring
this year the tulips
don’t return

“Well, I would like to see the boys,” she says, when I ask her to meet us for lunch.

planting in threes symmetry in odd numbers

I stop by Kroger to get her the best “Spring bouquet” I can find in late January. My oldest son rolls his eyes when I hand him the flowers to give to his grandmother. “She’s not going to believe we bought those,” he says.

grandma’s birthday—
a crayon named dandelion

Her back is straight against the hard Formica booth, her hands folded in her lap. We eat chicken out of red and white checkered boxes lined with waxed paper, a small plastic cup of cole slaw tucked in one corner. The boys coax words from her tight lips.

the thin green blades
of snow-drop leaves
winter’s thawing

A few days later there’s a card in the mail.

Terri,

Thank you for the flowers. It was good seeing you and the boys.

she taught me to put
an aspirin in the roses’ water—
a little more time

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