Thank You For the Tulips

By Lisa Bellamy

Featured Art: The Gracious Green by Grace Worley

During the pandemic, after I told you—
speaking up never easy—I was lonely
for you, your kids, and your husband,
you sent me tulips. Just like that, you
sent tulips. I wondered, though: did I
deserve them? I am sorry I was a drunk
when you were a kid. Thank you for not
hanging up when I call. The tulips
arrived in a creamy box; your note
tucked in tissue paper. I am sorry I could
not keep your father around or try very
hard to stop him when he said he was
leaving. I am sorry I did not love him
enough. Thank you for choosing such a
nice, funny guy for a husband.  I am
sorry I pursued such a crazy boyfriend
after your father left—the shouting, the
slamming phones and slamming doors,
the walking out, the coming back. The
tulips are white and iridescent purple.
Thank you for your brown eyes. I
believe they are still flecked with green,
although sometimes, even now, I am
embarrassed to look you in the eye. I am
sorry I was so sick from drinking,
throwing up, and dizzy. Once, I could
not take you to your dentist appointment
because I felt shaky and kept falling.
You cried, you said nothing works,
nothing happens, everything falls apart.
Thank you for your clarity. Thank you
for your red face, your bursting, when
you were born. Thank you for your
anger when your stepfather and I
screwed up the car seat as we drove the
baby around the city, looking after her
while you were at your conference. Boy,
that woke us up! I am sorry you fell out
of your stroller when you were a toddler
because I was hungover and forgot to
buckle you in. I don’t know if you
remember. Now you know. Thank you
for the tulips. You sent so many I filled
three vases: one big, two small. Thank
you for insisting you wanted hipster
vegan donuts at your wedding instead of 
a white cake. That one threw me over
the handlebars—drama, etc. Your
stepfather was kind and calm throughout
and wrote the checks. He loves you. He
says, later you get all the money, no one
else. In the end, I was a good sport,
admit it; the donuts were
delicious. You were a delicious baby.

Lisa Bellamy studies with Philip Schultz at The Writers Studio, where she also teaches. She has received a Pushcart Prize and Fugue Poetry Prize and is the author of two poetry collections: The Northway and Nectar. The UN Network on Migration featured her poem “Yoho” in a 2022 photography, video, and poetry exhibition.

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