The sun forgets itself where the James
crosses the Alleghenies, river like glass
or asphalt in the sunset’s half-current, a woman
on a road-shoulder, motor idling. She’s driven
the afternoon with flowers on her front seat.
Her hands are in her lap and she can see
the sun lingering: the halting skyline.
Summer days demand release: her son’s
death at this curve, his shards of vehicle adorning
riverbank. She has only the next morning,
her laurel and blooming rhododendron.
She has time set like an engine
to whirl: the bouquet’s heft as she
carries it to halved guardrail, the valley’s mercy
in seeming to cradle her between separate
moments as she ties, as if holding to a dusklit
present without sirens or the inevitable next-instant
could allow her tomorrow. The river persists in
its running. Sun relents to night. When the blooms dry,
she will not replace them. Still, wildflowers will try.