“I’m gonna get my mom flowers for her birthday.”

The little one I’m watching for the evening
is telling me her secrets
as we drive home in the summer heat.

“From where?”
I’m curious.

“From my garden.
That’s where the flowers grow!”

“They do?”

“Yes! And love.
I’m going to give her love.”
She turns her palms up, imploring.
“That’s where the flowers grow.”

“I had no idea.”

She brushes the bundle of peonies
against my ear;
the scent of a mild sweetness
politely invades my nostrils.

“Where is my grandpa?”

Her grandmother
continues gazing out the window.
She was born on the other side of the world.
“He go to see God.”
As if it were a road trip.

The little one
looks out her own window.

(A day before he passed,
my own grandfather opened his eyes,
searching for a window.
The blinds were shut.
“I don’t want to go.”

“Why not?”

I know I’ll never see her again.”

She had passed
a few years before.)

We tell our children
there are no such things as monsters.

The little one clears her throat.

Raucous stormclouds gather in rising fists
towards heaven.
The heat outside is hell.

“The storms are spirits!”

I wasn’t aware of this.

She leans in to tell me her secret.
“The storms… are all made of spirits.”

She points
at the approaching immensity
of water and air
bringing gifts of life and of fire.

She whispers,
That’s where the thunder grows.”


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