Friday, August 7, 2015


(I had a sister-in-law who was very much the big sister I had always wanted.  She died young, but something of her lingered in her garden. This is for her. 5/19/54 -8/16/83.)

Sweetpeas you planted
          ten years ago --
their petals butterfly-shaped
          rose-pink, almost magenta --
keep their color
long into the fall,
their poetry
dulling the pale-purple chives
          and star-blossomed sage
          to prose.
Their leaves and stalks,
joined like an antique doll’s
reach their twisted fingers
          out of the dark earth.
You -- your eyes, your laugh,
          your lightning-bursts of temper --
have gone to ashes
but your sweetpeas keep
you before me,
          a memory I can touch.
Ground could not hold you,
          a spirit too restless
                    to be stilled.


Bernadette said...

So full of love and metaphor, it's beautiful.

T. J. Banks said...

Thank you, Bernadette. She was a very vivid personality, and I needed a very vivid image to convey that.

Gwynn Rogers said...

Tammy, I totally agree with Bernadette's comment. I could reach out and feel your love for your sister-in-law. What a beautiful way of remembering her. I'll bet she is up there dancing and applauding.

T. J. Banks said...

Thanks, Gwynn. And laughing, I hope. She had an incredible laugh -- one of those laughs that invite you right in. It took my brother a long time to heal after losing her.

Caren Gittleman said...

oh my that is breathtakingly beautiful. It gave me chills. I have two family members who are also born on May 19th so the part about the temper and strong spirit, really resonated with me.

T. J. Banks said...

Thanks, Caren, Janie was a powerful personality, no doubt about it. And I don't think that she would ever have lost that fire.