From a Pennsylvania Childhood

Marilee Swirczek

You will call up the memory of the weeping willow

in the garden of your childhood, of grandfather

stripping its fine saplings to weave baskets

that fit into your hand.


You will see your mother, face flushed from oven heat,

hands deep in yeasty dough, folding and pushing,

adding a dusting of flour, wiping

her hands on a blue apron, making clouds.


You will conjure the feeling of your hand

in your father’s, hear him laughing,

understand that no man

will ever love you as he did.


You will remember the waft of fennel

on a heavy summer wind,

the taste of black figs in September,

the luxury of winter fires and dreamless sleep.


And when all else fails you,

there will be long daydreams of walks into the woods

for wild mushrooms and elderberries, and

this will be enough, after all.