Stealing Lilacs

By Alice N. Persons

A guaranteed miracle,

it happens for two weeks each May,

this bounty of riches

where McMansion, trailer,

the humblest driveway

burst with color — pale lavender,

purple, darker plum —

and glorious scent.

This morning a battered station wagon

drew up on my street

and a very fat woman got out

and starting tearing branches

from my neighbor’s tall old lilac —

grabbing, snapping stems, heaving

armloads of purple sprays

into her beater.

A tangle of kids’ arms and legs

writhed in the car.

I almost opened the screen door

to say something,

but couldn’t begrudge her theft,

or the impulse

to steal such beauty.

Just this once,

There is enough

for everyone.

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