My mom used to call it “beautiful rubbish,”
the red-orange flowers from our African Tulip trees,
littering the lawn in the late fall and again in late spring.
She’d always ask me not to clean them up until
they’d lost their color, turned to a wilted brown.
Every time I see them beginning to come down these days,
I pick them up as quickly as I can, can’t wait
long enough anymore, but as I rake and bag
the nowadays huge loads of fresh blossoms
blanketing the grass like a bed of fiery snow,
I do always think about how she loved them.