Because you did, I too arrange flowers,
Watching the pistils just like insolent tongues
And the hard, red flesh of the petals
Widening beneath my eyes. They move like the hands
Of clocks, seeming not to move except
When I turn my gaze; then savagely
In the white room, they billow and spread
Until their redness engulfs me utterly.
Mother, you are far away and claim
In mournful letters that I do not need you;
Yet here in this sunny room, your tulips
Devour me, sucking hungrily
My watery nourishment, filling my house
Like a presence, like an enemy.
Geared to your intervals as the small hand
Of a clock repeats the larger, I,
Your too-faithful daughter, still drag behind you,
Turning in the same slow circles.
Across the years and distances, my hands
Among these fierce, red blossoms repeat
Your gestures. I hope my daughter never writes:
‘Because you did, I too arrange flowers.’