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Rochelle Jewel Shapiro 

Cherry Blossoms

When I was six months pregnant with my first,

my father cleared his phlegmy throat. He looked

straight ahead, not at me. From a deep place

in his barrel chest, he said, quietly, 

“You are carrying me,” and died 

six weeks before my daughter was born.


I did not believe what he believed, but knowing his belief

stole the joy from my new motherhood and weighted 

my heart as milk my breasts. I talked myself

through my days. Life was only a to-do list.

My face felt stiff. My words sounded far away.

The sky was never blue.


My son, my daughter, are now grown with children

of their own, but on this cold, gray spring day,

far from that time, that place, I am lying 

on the spongy grass beneath the cherry trees,

my daughter, my son, on either side of me,

the cherry blossoms raining down 

like soft snowflakes of pink and white

shaken from the heavens just for us.


My son, my daughter, their small hands

reach for them, their cheeks puff

to blow wind from their lips, as if petals 

are bubbles whose path they can vary.

Jeffrey Alfier Matin_Bleu.jpeg
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