It has become custom. On a warm March day she will walk with kitchen shears to the neighbors' stone wall where crooked forsythia grow into her yard. She will snip budding branches to bring inside. The black pitcher chipped on the lip so it now serves only as vase will have held already anniversary tulips, until dried and withered they were carried to the compost. She will turn the tap to fill the black vessel with a few inches of water then stand the bundle of sticks to spread into bare spindly ikenobo.
Years ago on such a day, she gave birth to her first child. On the way to the hospital, a towel soaking beneath her, she noticed the ragged bushes of yellow at the roadside. She commented on their homeliness, their garishness, their asymmetry. There was no beauty to them then.
Now come gentle breeze
she again forces bent twigs
into spring's promise.