Her name was June, but she left in May,
before the sunflowers could bloom and ask
for more days. In the stone church, whispers
spoke of the claim: cancer, a brain tumor.
Stolen summer laid her cold, draped in flowers
taken in their bloom. They would die soon.
I kept my head bowed, listened for June,
waited for the preaching, sobbing, and hymns to end.
In the front of the church, in a purple dress
with a black bow in her hair, June’s daughter sat;
I knew her well. She looked straight ahead and made
no sound, and that is why I kept my head down.
And when the cars were gone, and I was alone
I wept, and I wept to the church and through June.
The last months of her life, when the brain tumor
grasped and haunted her head, June had changed.
And her daughter, so many days, so many different
colored bows, would tell stories of the crazy things
her mom would do and stay. And it wasn’t June.
It wasn’t your Mom. I cry because we have lost
part of summer, but I weep for her girl in the purple dress,
and the June she remembered as she sat on those steps.