NPM: Of Queens and Marigolds

We bought four small marigolds 

Yellow heads held proudly high

Regal splashes of rich color

To stand as sentinels at our door

Before we could plant them

Some creature snuck up

And chewed through the stem of 

the tallest, fullest bloom

Its golden crown toppled

Death by guillotine or squirrel

Instead of throwing it away

I brought the flower inside

And put it in a cup of water

It floats there now

Reborn as a water lily

Vibrant as ever

While its stripped greenery remains outside

Soaking up the sun and

Working up the strength 

To send forth another golden bloom

A monarch returned from exile

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NPM: Stage of Life

Our hostas haven’t sprouted yet 

They lie dormant beneath the topsoil

But the neighbor’s hostas

Are poking their tender green heads

Up from their cool, dark slumber

In fact, all around the block

I see them growing

And feel affronted

How dare they?

I crouch down along the row of dirt

Where last year’s hostas flourished

Running my fingers through the mulch

Searching with fingertips for a sign of life

I find nothing but dry soil

And the memory of verdant summers past

Perhaps mine are just late bloomers

Perhaps they are just slow starters

Waiting in stasis for life to begin

Or perhaps I am waiting in vain

For a resurrection that will never come

NPWM Day 26: Fresh-Cut Flowers

I filled my home with flowers

Bouquets upon bouquets

In every vase I could find

and some make-shift vases as well

Gorgeous gladiolas

in crimson, yellow, white

Hydrangeas overflowing their vases

like clouds, like rising bread

A dozen white roses

holding their secrets close

beckoning you to lean in

and breathe in their mysteries

Bright gerber daisies, joyous

and forthright

I never have fresh flowers

I don’t buy them for myself

But they were going to be thrown out

so I took them by the armful

More than I could ever need

and arranged them, not so skillfully

And for one afternoon,

I was swathed in scent

of lilies and roses and snap-dragons

But like a cut-flower

it didn’t last.

I’m going out of town in the morning

and so I laid out a large plastic sheet

on the floor of my living room

and collected every carefully-cut flower

every arranged blossom

and laid them reverently in a pile.

It felt like laying them on the pyre.

I wrapped them all together in

the smothering plastic

Bundled them tightly

crushing their fragrant, unsullied petals

and threw them in the dumpster.

Is it strange to grieve their

untimely passing?  The waste

of their pristine beauty?

The selfishness of one 

brief afternoon filled with 

fresh-cut flowers?