Two Poems by Kelly DuMar

The Color of Her Eyes

These lilacs, he says, are the color of her eyes
the day we wed, the color of her eyes the day
she died. They grew from a shoot she cut from
a root in the yard of the house she left when she
wished to marry me. Her mother wished I was
Catholic. I wished to do the right thing. We married
in May when I promised her mother – the priest – to
raise Catholics. The yard of the house we bought
was dirt. We seeded grass, planted lilac, raised
that child, then two and more until there were five
and none of them were Catholic. These lilacs grew
in the yard of this house we kept for fifty years. In
April she died. The lilacs were late but her eyes
bloomed. I sat beside her bed that wasn’t ours.
She opened her eyes and I smiled. She held my
hand. In the end and the beginning your hands hold.
In between you waste all your chances to let go.
She looked at me. We must have remembered
something like love, and then she closed her eyes
and I was gone. The house is yours now and the yard.

What This Is Called

This is how you bend without tipping.
This is how you kneel and lift a soft
thing up like a flake of cold that falls
from a cloud when it’s white all over.
This is how you can smell it, sweet.
This one fell from a name I can’t name,
a flower that pricks, with its flakes falling
there and here on the ground going brown.
This flake of pure white is the only kind
of thing you need. You can bend without
tipping. You can pick one up from the ground
before it turns brown. You can smell it, sweet.
You can hold a bright white world called
something beautiful in your hand.

Kelly DuMar’s plays, short stories, and poems are inspired by nature, family, and her belief in the artistry of shared stories to transform individuals and communities. She founded and produces the Our Voices Festival of Women Playwrights at Wellesley College, now in its 8th year, to support women writing stories for the stage.