Last week I walked into the dining room and saw these flowers a friend had left. Right away I remembered this poem, and a time long ago when I first discovered quince.
I said, “I love you.” You said, “I brought fresh quince,”
and you spliced it into the fading pussy willows
you brought fresh the week before
when you stole in to my house, calloused
hands finding a vase in the quiet that
felt more like winter than early spring.
But it was spring by then, a season since
the lemon tree you left by my bedside faded
leaf by leaf. Carrying it to the compost pile
I saw a second growth budding. But the quince has
fallen petal by petal, and the pollen from the pussy
willows is past golden. Midnight, and the full moon
shines. I sleep hard on the brittle bed of quince and
willow branches I took from you, wake
to a lemon tree blossoming in the cold.