Fifty-two times I’ve stepped out
from the red door, each time
promising to wave back
and I do until there’s no one to wave to.
Fifty-two times I’ve clasped hands
small fingers around big
until my hands changed places
became big around small and smaller.
Fifty-two times I’ve cut and washed
my hair. Locks of pomegranate.
Curls of the passion fruit. Age
adding their own thin white strings.
Fifty-two times my feet tramped
down the concrete, avoiding the sentimental
cracks. The saxifrage, the puddles,
the persistent trail of black ants.
Fifty-two times my thoughts clouded
mountains, fell like rain
up on the parched plains where few seeds
would grow or germinate.
Fifty-two times. Too soon for the spring
migration. Too late for the azalea
bloom. Let them come like wildflowers,
as they must, and let me keep count.