the way azaleas grow

Every year around Jase’s birthday, I find myself writing about azaleas. Here’s a poem I scratched out last week in the notes app on my phone:

the way azaleas grow

after a skinned knee
he climbs on my lap

arms and legs tucked in close
to my chest
like the azalea buds
yet to loosen
on their reaching stems

this is the posture of a son
a bundle of petals
collecting sun
they unfurl

every year I consider
the way azalea’s grow
the dormant sticks
wake up and rise

pronged leaves turn green
and part to make
way for a bud
that will become a blaring
trumpet of beauty
an announcement of
defiant life: spring

when he feels better
he unlocks his arms
like the petals as they release
into a new season

he leaves my side
knowing there is always
a place for him close
to my heart

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