Through the open roof rain rolls off
oak leaf lobes. Fifty years since she abandoned

the purse she’d emptied on her way,
I catch her unmistakable scent of July

in the green side yard where we wheeled
white canvas-shrouded loads and passed wooden

pins, trying not to pinch our fingers as we
reached, grunted, clasped to the cotton line

lace-trimmed cotton corners we grasped, beasts
that, swaying, whipped our faces with their tails.

The scent of honeysuckle bushes rife with bees
hot-buzzes drunk with nectar, the scent she splashed

and sprayed about her the way a priest
prepares his people’s and his own path too

with mighty flicks of water. She wound yellow
ribbons of sensibility around us, invisible garland

of honeysuckle she suspended in the air as the blue-
suited men closed her casket and the preacher

recited the verses she loved about the valley and the shadow,
the oil anointing her head, the kindness of the shepherd,

her own lack of fear. No fear for all the days I have left.
Cut down fifty years ago, honeysuckle lingers in the air.

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