Lilacs on My Birthday

The flowerets look edible before they open,
like columns of sugar dots on pulpy strips
I bought as a child. It was hard to bite the candy

without some paper adhering, like adding machine tape
to large, red numbers. Lilacs are like that; another year
unspools without major accomplishment,

while I question “major” and “accomplishment.”
And when I find in Costco those clusters
of brilliant pointillist pastel, I hope they will become

someone else’s nostalgia—honorable emotion
propelling Ulysses toward Ithaca, and a woman
to set lilacs in her dooryard as her mother did.