The lover crushed the rose petals
In his clenched fist.
Beating his brow
Faded no memories.

In late autumn
Two oldsters smiled at each other
And stared at the empty swing on the front porch.
"Cranberry sauce
In cranberry glass," your mother used to say.
"Do you remember that after all these years?"
"Why of course I do, Mama" he replied. "It's all up there in the attic."
She looked at the swing once again, and it stared back at her,
As if to ask, When are the grandchildren coming?
"I'll bring it down so we can use it this Christmas," she told him.
Bring what down?" he asked her. "The cranberry glass, Papa," she replied.
"And then I'll repack it for her to take back with them," she added.
"No use letting it go to waste," he agreed. "Not with the years coming on."

Grandfather cut the discolored soft spot
Out of the peach and looked at the buildings on the plain.
In the distance they seemd like miniature toys
On a paper board. He stood on the back porch.
How do you feel, Dad? said his daughter?
Not too good, the old man confessed.
I don't want to do any more of these peaches.
You always used to like to help me with the canning.
In the kitchen the granddaughter asked, How long will
Grandpop be in the hospital next week?
I don't know, said her mother.

A sprouted pit in one of the peaches surprised them all.
It's a tree, yelled the little girl.
Grandfather looked into the orchard that wasn't yet there
And saw a tree planted in his memory. Then he came back inside.
He's the Alpha and Omega, he said. What, Grandfather? What is?
He is, child. The First and the Last.
The Beginning and the End, echoed his daughter.
Then she turned her face toward the window and the
Orchard they always dreamed of, to hide her tears.
Copyright © 2005 by Robert E. Romanelli PhD