Mother’s Bloom

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On this first day of spring
the white narcissus in my yard
hang their heads
still timid, barely more than buds,
planted so late in the fall
after the first frost
by this unskilled gardener.

The neighbors’ daffodils
and those in the park
and along the freeway through downtown
have all been aflame for weeks,
six-petaled suns
trumpeting hope
before I could feel it, before it was here.

I worried what the neighbors would think,
their late arrival
a sign of my irresponsibility,
the kind everyone notices
but no one mentions
like a baby born only seven months
after the honeymoon.

But there’s no expiration date on hope
I remind myself
after impatiently urging
my bulbs to bloom,
their pale blush and slow unfurling
now a joy that erases
this mother’s sense of shame.