We are walking through the park. "Viburnum,"VIBURNUM
she says. "I don't remember what it is."
I tell her it's a plant. "Chrysanthemum,"
she mumbles, "No, an evergreen," then changes
the subject, stops to listen to the hum
of an airplane overhead. She disengages
for a moment, staring at the horizon.
"Mom," I say. I'm losing her in stages.
"Viburnum," she says again. "Did I raise
them?" "Yes," I answer, "Once. You had three
of them in Fairfield." She pauses, shifts her gaze
a bit and then, "Of course. Wayfaring tree -
viburnum means wayfaring tree," she says.
"It's late," I tell her. She turns away from me.
Copyright 2001, Carol Frith
Carol Frith co-edits Ekphrasis. A 3-time finalist for the Howard Nemerov Sonnet Award, her work has or will appear in Many Mountains Moving, Clackamas, Chariton Review, Macguffin, Perihelion, The Formalist, Poetry New York, Sundog.
Viburnum is a Sicilian sonnet (14 lines rhyme scheme: abab, abab, cdcdcd).