All about sex and death this one, the big topics. Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day. How does one not think of flowers and death at a time like this?
Florist shops smell like funerals,that cloying vegetative sweet-
ness bred to show that loves and lives
bloom in brief, rainy seasons.
That’s fine. My love is like a rosethat spreads for a time in succulent heat
a slow July 4th bloom and sizzle
that fizzles to ashes on low wind.
That perfect spreading rose there?Dianthus? Carnations white as plaster,
mums so red they’re embarrassing?
They’ll stop drinking soon enough.
Vase water a film of algae green,petals on the tablecloth like underthings
left alone on the bedroom floor.
Bouquets flung on the compost heap.
I’m not young. I still keepdry roses around the house—
roses from my father’s casket,
the wedding boutonniere I swore
would remind me always what we saidwe’d guard, and have. That’s endurance
pressed and dried. Fresh flowers
smell like funerals. We still pick more.
That rosy freshness pink like her cheeksis lovely, but I’m grateful for our chance
to die away. We’re born cut,
drying in a vase of living water.