Watering the Maple ~ Laurie Lamon



My mother watered in the dark

in porch light: reading hour,

tucking in hour; she hauled

wheelbarrows of trees

wrapped in burlap.


Once I faked a bath,

wet my wrists, my knees, rinsed

my face, washed my glasses

with Ivory soap. In the living

room I lied.


Tonight, in the window

I see myself drag the hose

to the Japanese Maple, three years old.

I work down as though I am bathing

a daughter and her hair is tossed

forward into my hands, then

the belly and back I rinse for dust,

the arms I lift and wash

and dry, holding her between

my hands. My mother showed me

how to spray the leaves

so they can breathe, then lay water

against the earth and let all

of darkness drink.