My mother cushions her rooms
with dolls she's fallen for, trinkets
that shine and twinkle, tiny animals —
layers her rooms with draped fabric,
green and wood twigged garland,
burning scent-infused candles —
sets her tables with pitchers of flowers
and crystal dishes of candy — every
sweet thing for you — everything
an offering, a great flood of joy
to stimulate your senses.

She collects while I wean my rooms
of too many dusty things.
For every trashed box
I say Good. I don't want to leave
a mess behind for others to clean
when I die &#mdash; and not much of what
I've acquired will trade for much money.

Still, with this and our differences,
my mother's hands and mine
make good shovels in the pliable earth.
When the ground is packed too hard
for our hands to plough we gather
our necessary tools, work our gardens.
We have this in common.

When the earth is too hard for our fingers
to digest, too cold for our hands
to reach into, drop seed, the bulbs nested
inside reach up and out toward
where we are and we look after them
after they arrive. Tulip, Hyacinth,
Daffodil, Iris. To keep these
for ourselves, we buy
women and men to protect

and defend us so that it may seem
we gather no weapons, my mother and I,
we just garden.

About the Poet

Marylisa Dedomenicis was the 2010 recipient of the Toni Brown Memorial Scholarship. Her most recently accepted poems appeared in SUNY's Literary Journal, The Healing Muse, and the online literary journal Scythe. Her poems have been published in the books To Have and to Hold: Prayers, Poems, and Blessings for Newlyweds (Center Street/Time Warner Books), Heal Your Heart, Heal Your Soul (Andrews McMeel Press), and Looking For God In All The Right Places (Loyola Press). Her chapbook, Almost All Red, was nominated for a Pushcart prize. In September 2006 her poem “Drawing An Equation,” a Ginsberg finalist published in The Paterson Literary Review, was performed as interpreted by actors and actresses at the Ritz Theatre, located just outside of Philadelphia (sponsored by New Jersey State Council on the Arts). Additional bio information can be found at