On coming late to womanhood

lavender

Would you like a bunch of lavender,
Purple flowers, sage green stems, and fragrant?

Once you might have had daisies
Gathered in your gingham skirt
While you made chains and counted petals
– loves me – loves me not.

But would you like a bunch of lavender,
Homely in style and straggling in habit
And fragrant with summer?

Once you might have had roses red,
A white dress,
(Would you have been romantic?
Would you have gone a virgin to your marriage bed?).

Come, have some lavender.
Blessed by bees, age-old remedy,
Bringer of forgetful sleep.

Once, your hands might have held posies from your children,
Orchids from your husband,
Tokens of their love, your worth
– loves me – loves me not.

Yes, I will have lavender
But not for sleep, not to forget.
I will have lavender and laugh with the bees,
My own habit straggling, but joyful.
I will have lavender and rejoice.

And one day I shall have lilies
White in my arms as I lie still
A small smile on my face
For my body – my old body – is perfect.

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