Slight frame, sweet smile- big under your hat,
Gentle spirit of love,
You knew me since I was a baby.
Bringing boxes of sweet hot pastries every Easter
That you waited in line for for hours at crowded Portos,
A bright red hong bao from you every Xin Nian with crisp new money from the bank,
Mom and Dad have always loved you, spoken of you with great respect.
You came into this country from Hong Kong,
A single mother with five children
And only your firm, capable hands and strong spirit
To build a new life here,
Which you did, with aplomb.
We walk slowly among the flowers,
Bright rows of tulips like lollipops of red, pink, orange, and yellow,
Rows upon rows in a colorful flowerbed tray.
We walk around the quiet pond
Surrounded by gray green woodland
And listen to the occasional honk of geese,
As the mallards glide by in families.
You are 85, and by the other side of the pond, you pause,
Wondering if perhaps I am tired.
You used to walk more briskly, and
Your bright spirit would bubble over in a tumble of words,
Stories about growing up in China and lots of questions about each of us kids.
You kept track of everyone and all our details.
Now you say, “I got lost yesterday driving to the post office.
I drove round and round for 30 minutes till I found my way home.”
You keep smiling big and broad,
But your eyes are sad.
We stop under an apple tree before the exit for a last snapshot.
The tree is abundant with creamy white and pink blossoms.
The petals flutter to the ground in a litter of soft confetti
As my heart sighs deeply for you, dear Annie.