By: Aberdeen Bird
They told me not to step on thistles
but proceeded to say that we have something in common
because they, too, have Scottish veins.
I wish they’d take care to not step on me, either.
Not from fear of being squished, but fear of impaling
soft, uncalloused soles that never wander down
gravel roads, barefoot in July.
I always took pride in my indifference
roaming over sharp stones
and planting roots on mountainsides
with Rudbeckia and Salix.
My mother gathers these for her brother each year
but her opponent can no longer
race to find the first blooms of the season and offer them
on her doormat in loving triumph.
There is a stone in my mother’s sewing room,
perched on the windowsill, complacent and unmoving.
Etched are the words:
Get well soon!
I took this from the foundation of your bridge
So you better get up and go return it!”