My grandparents raised five kids
in a wood frame house off a dirt road
up a hollow in Appalachia.
They grew corn and potatoes,
tomatoes and beans, in a valley between
the hills where a wide meadow stretched
all the way to the river.
What did those kids do with their long
summer days? What did they dream?
Did they ever wonder what life was like
on the other side of the mountain?
Some left, some stayed, some came back.
For a long time after the house fell,
the pear tree still stood in the back yard.
The poplar up on the mountain, the one with
my parents’ initials carved into its thick trunk,
still stands almost a century later.
Granny’s lilac bush lives five hundred miles away
from the place where it was planted.
As a twig, it migrated to the city in my mother’s suitcase,
and blooms, again, in my front yard.