One by one you entered my life.
Small, white buds, you burst through firm, pink sod,
Glopping reluctantly through pureed carrots,
Coating yourselves with sodden Zwieback,
Hacking relentlessly at the slats of a folding play pen.
Two─four─eight─you multiplied in glorious profusion,
Small blooms replaced by larger ones,
Crowding and shoving, meshing and missing,
Stretching to find a place of your own
In the tangled jungle of unweeded prosperity.
Slanted daggers, you stabbed precariously
At pizza─hot dogs─nut-filled candy bars,
Until you were caught and sheathed.
Albino leopards, resisting constriction,
You strained and snarled against the confines of your cage.
Delivered at last to freedom, thundering white stallions,
You pounded steak into hamburger, corn into mash.
All that had form and substance was ground into nothingness
Beneath the awful fury of your powerful hooves.
Pearls, studded here and there with silver,
Flashing and twinkling in ornamental arrogance
In the red, velvet-lined jewel box which encased you,
You set yourselves in abandoned passion
Into an ear lobe, a shoulder, the soft hollow of a navel.
Household shears, dulled with time and use,
You snipped away dutifully at threads, at hair, at fingernails.
You pried open bobby pins and drew corks out of bottles.
I had you ground and sharpened, I caressed you with floss
As afternoon followed the morning,
As season dissolved into a further season.
One by one you slip from my life,
Faded, softened blooms,
Dropping, petal by petal,
Into a caramel─a hunk of cheese─a glass of wine.
Little yellow friends, comrades of my childhood,
Stay with me, I pray, a short time longer.
Clutch tightly with your riddled roots, brave blossoms.
Brighten for one last hour
The withered furrows
Of my autumn garden.
© Lois Duncan, 2005
Causes Lois Duncan Supports
Operation Smile and Hospice