Day 127: May 7, 2010

Lilacs smell sweet

on a still April night

as clouds drift past the waning moon

and the brightest stars shine

in spite of

the bank of billboards out my front door.

I never would have known the heady fragrance

if the 24-hour Mexican restaurant across the street

hadn’t cranked up the bass beat of its kitchen music

in time for the burrito rush

after the bars closed

at 2:30 a.m.

In my bathrobe

and bare feet,

I stomped down the sidewalk

intent on yelling across the Avenue,

but then the perfume

of the first blooms

made me pause.

Smelling deeply,

surprised at the warmth,

the way the city felt smaller

when most people are asleep,

I thought twice about my plan

to scream,

“Shut off the damn noise!”

I lingered at the lilac bush,

ran my fingers across the perky blossoms,

buried my nose in the purple,

and decided

to hurl my obscenities

into the telephone instead.

photo: Elizabeth Thomsen