An April Poem


“The only thing that shines is yellow flowers.”

Thomas Transstromer





call to my roots

make them tremble.

Yellow Roses


I Meet My Grandmother in Italy

by Katrina Vandenberg

I find her where I least expect her,
Santa Marguerita, with yellow roses
in her hair. She laughs, deep

in the arms of that American GI,
her hair rolled like Hepburn’s, her lipstick
red as tiled Verona roofs. Then I remember

the Saturday before she died, the way
we stopped at a greenhouse and she said,
I’ll take for my granddaughter all

the plants you have with yellow flowers,
ignoring my protests until the Pontiac
was heaped with roses and verbena,

with lemon gladiola perfume I could gather
in my hands. She said, Take them
all; you need to have a happy life.

“I Meet My Grandmother in Italy” by Katrina Vandenberg from Atlas. © Milkweed Editions, 2004. Reprinted with permission.

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