It is the moment before you lose your footing--
toes tucked in the tiniest crack
and fingers sun-warm against weathered
granite, interrupting the subtle scent-paths
of ants holding aphids and brothers
carrying home to feed the rest--
When the senses are full of honeysuckle
and your tongue longs for the single drop
of nectar huddled deep beneath
the stamen. Your mother told you the vines
grow berries before death, but still
in all eleven of your years they have not appeared.
Above you, indian paintbrush bend down
to look you in the eye, reveal tiny black mites
squirming inside like your own brother
before his birth, his death, before wildflowers
stretched out across the stone your father
laid down. Before the dirt rinsed away with rain.
You can't imagine rain now,
or even the way his toes fluttered
like droplets of a summer storm
against the taut warmth of Mother's skin,
or where you'll go now, reaching up
with eyes closed and taking a step.