My son makes me examine the wound.
When will the new skin grow? he asks.

*

Outside, a spring storm:
dandelion seeds
flying in the wind;
red buds, magnolias,
dogwood—
my favorite flowering trees
shedding their petals
too soon.

It was inevitable,
the loss, but I wish
we'd had more time,
a chance
to teach our son
their names.

*

Don't touch, he screams
if my fingers
come near
where it's raw.

When I slide
the soft rag across
the wound,
I try to convince him
the pain will go away.

Why can't I
let him have the pain,
hold it
in the palm of his hand?

*

As I jog,
I squash out dogwood petals.
My ankles chafe against my sneakers.
It's raining again. I run faster. My calves burn.
I should have worn better socks,
checked the forecast before I headed out.

*

When I was a child, people would say
I needed to grow a thicker skin.
I pictured my body covered
in band-aids, plastic wrap, rose petals,
peach skin, tape, orange peels.

*

Where did the pain go?
he asks
a few days later,
drifting off to sleep.

*

Already I'm seeing something like fruit
on the trees outside our window,
the ones I can barely see—
little fists of purple
blurred
on the highest branches.

But it can't be, I tell myself,
looking away.
It's not the season
for that kind of ripening.