We are walking through the park.  "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).