One look at the lilac, one smell
and my childhood is — 

dogs scratching at the sliding
glass door, bits

of bottles coming up

like grass in the grass, a dirty towel
down by the feet

of the tree, Lysol cans, small
packets of Land O’Frost

turkey meat — 
there in front of me in spring,

in the wonderfully fat rain,

flowering purple and whatever
the pinkish purple is called

and the white

ones too. They smell like
my siblings, like the backs of my infant

son’s ears, like my son
whom I would kill someone for.

Before he was born I wouldn’t kill
anyone. But now I would.

And after I’d get a coffee
from Starbucks, a coffee and a piece

of that amazing lemon-frosted
lemon cake

and think nothing of it,

and read the paper and hold him
against my chest

and listen to his body living,
alive outside

his mother’s body, and the lilac
outside on the street, outside

everyone, and heavy in the rain.

More Poems by Matthew Dickman