A man once said that the memory of daffodils
Brought him more happiness than the actual flowers.
Is it true? Does the garden that (dances, he would say)
Haunts your brain rouse more than just the senses?
The cottonwood tree outside my elementary
School, for example, was tall and green.
Each spring, it loosed white puffs
To drift through the windows, through the halls
Like summer snow, feathers, tiny clouds.
What’s missing from the daffodil equation
Is the layeredness of memory.
I remember the tree, it made me happy
At the time, it makes me happy now,
Sure. But there is longing when I think
Of cottonwood blowing like snow across my face.
It’s not the tree I long for, not the rose
You miss twenty years after the man
Has gone, not your mother’s lavender.
I’m wistful for myself, for the wonder
Sprung from the cotton suspended overhead.