Wednesday, September 10, 2014

In Memory of Warren Starke (1939-1992)

The Vine

Spring, 1993

After the service, back at the house, 
someone asked about the vine 
on the front fence.

You remember, the one 
I always nagged you 
to dig up and out and gone 
because the thick dead trails 
of thin gray string made such a mess 
after the blooms stopped
and I was tired of cleaning the fence. 
You always refused, 
saying--approval in your voice-- 
the vine paid its way in blossom time.

Disinterested, I regarded 
the small flowers 
in the mass of crawling vine and 
tried to give it a name. 
I couldn't.
Later, someone exclaimed, 
"Look!  A hummingbird vine!" 
and moved to get a closer look. 
In the afterfuneral smalltalk, two visitors 
recalled childhood memories 
richly flavored with such a vine. 
To a chorus of startmesome, I promised.

Today, for the second year 
I've known the name, 
I pulled the gray tendrils off the fence 
and I thought of you.

And, with pleasure, I thought of 
the perfect, five-pointed blossoms
unpretentious scarlet stars
soon to appear
summer's bright red dots
punctuating the delicate, dark green traceries 
cascading, looping from post to post 
hiding the ugly wire fence.