They were red roses, for my mother.
Large and overblown, they glowed with color –
Gold and scarlet, rich green and the sharp brown of thorns.
All this splendor in a bright blue bowl that she had thrown.
I remember her hands, strong and square-nailed.
Hand that could gentle a child, till a field, shell peas
Grow roses and throw and shape earthen pots.
Hand that are now stilled, crossed in eternal idleness.
I remember standing by her to receive communion
At the rail – still and waiting, a solid presence with
Hands crossed to receive that gift of grace. Then those
Hands folded to pray. Always in prayer.
My broken spirit had rubbed and raw places that wouldn’t heal
For years after her death. No gentle hands to soothe
It took me years to enter a church again. Years
To feel the presence of God again.
The small church that took my bruised soul in
Gentled my soul, tilled my soil, shelled me from
The hard shell I had cast around my heart with thick
Earthen clay that had been fired in the furnace of suffering
So to remember her I went to the garden that she tilled
And cut some fall roses that spilled in great and glorious
Confusion from untrained canes gold and red and bright green
And in the bowl from my mother’s hand I offered my newly
Released heart to the waiting and solid presence of my God
My hands crossed to receive the grace that is offered
Freely and extravagantly, spilling over in great and
Glorious abandon and I am loved.