Sassafras and Roaming
Behind overgrown yews, in that wreck
of a cottage the color of old bones,
there lived my other mother.
Under oaken timbers her tea steeped
in chipped earthenware mugs
and her spinning wheel twisted
flax into owl feathers
and uncommon paths.
After the hearth embers cooled,
she left footprints in the ashes,
rowed me down river,
each dip of oar stirring marsh grass,
spider webs, orange-tip butterflies.
In the shallows, egrets waded.
Here I paddled
round and round.
In the whirling, she sang
as she wove dandelions into river reeds
and crowned me queen.
Cape Cod Branch, MA