I bought fresh tulips, which I was once told
was forbidden in Nazi Germany,
then brought them home: white pitcher with yellow
blooms striated pink, green arches droop their
acrobatics jauntily. In my straw
hat, I stroll on the sidewalk, move freely
towards my friends at the soft serve stand, where our
hair’s blowing in the wind — mine, white, one friend’s
black corkscrew curls, the other’s straight and blonde.
Silently, grateful, no need for ID
on my sleeve — my mother admonishes
still, You don’t want to live in Royal Oak!,
Father Coughlin’s words in her head.
She’s long dead. Yet here she lives. We support
the veteran, who trades paper poppies
in exchange. Sitting on a bench, the dense
shadows interrupt our light: three sprightly
forms mimic us, though it’s only we who
recognize our great good fortune now,
on this, an otherwise ordinary day.