originally published in Feminine Collective

Blue paisley when she feels humble
Green polka dots when the beauty parlor is closed
Stars and stripes for the Fourth
Red and green for Yuletide
Magenta for seducing the department chair
Navy blue for telling my father it never happened
Pink and yellow for the parent-teacher conference
Beige to visit the dentist
Black and white for cocktails
Orange and green for coming in under par
Red stripes for the first day of class
Yellow roses to hold seminar
A white bandana to hang curtains
Lilies of the valley to announce she’s all used up
White polka dots when her bag is packed
Blue and gold to fetch me from school —
But only years later, when I finally agree to meet
By then her scarf is purple, knotted in a bow,
Making her the kindly grandmother she’ll never become
The mortician says a scarf would be a nice touch
I say, Yes, of course
But none are found among her things —
Plastic beads and rhinestone rings,
Cancelled checks, tattered mystery novels,
A forty-year-old recipe for pineapple upside-down cake
Packets of letters, some unopened, some unsent
As if to say they’d done little for her,
Or perhaps had done too much

Writer & Poet. Find me at anneleighparrish.com

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