to my mother, on palm sunday

The palms don’t seem so out of place,
like they did in Boston — or back
in Colorado, with flurries of spring
snow just visible through the stained glass.
They seem more lively here — waving 
one last triumphant farewell in the lazy breezes
sidereally blown from the few fans 
that someone thoughtfully placed
in what would be the apse
if this were some soaring cathedral 
and not just a vaulted room on the 22nd floor.
In any case, their orbits’ arcs don’t meet me
where I sit in swelter under my white alb.
Nor do they follow us later, 
after we have boarded the elevators and exited 
into the office park, where actual palms
 line our gay procession out under the wide
city sky — leaden and dense as soup.

That was years ago. Today I am driving
back home through arid troughs amid
rolling seas of sage green that stretch out
in all earthly directions. Driving home as somewhere — 
to the east — you are probably sitting
in an old stone church in Northern Spain,
soaking in the priest’s provincial tones
as he leads the mass. And holding in your lap
a palm frond — perhaps just as they did
in Jerusalem all those years ago — and thinking
of me, my sisters, our father. Of Sunday
mornings come and passed. While now
you dwell on the sights and thoughts
that accompanied you on your day’s walk.

As now you dwell
on the miles you have crossed, 
and the miles you have yet to go
before you reach the shore

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