Roses and Rainwater
An old woman lays peacefully among
Roses in her garden.
She lays, eyes closed, with a crumpled
Piece of parchment
Between her fingers. The garden holds
So many memories.
Memories of lemonade on porch swings,
Of tending to flowers
Under sunlight. The echo of young
Carries on the breeze, the cobblestone
Path etched with
Their small footprints. But older
memories too float
Within the garden. A young love reached
Across the garden's
White fence and found its way inside.
The love grew and
Flourished, twining with the vibrant
Blossoms. It was
A love planted hastily but tended to
And cared for by
The young woman with lilac gloves and
Curls that spilt
Over flower and man alike. Though
Willed by her to
Live, the very same love wilted within
The haven of the
Garden and died with the old woman.
The gardener's story
Rests upon her chest where her lilac
Gloves hold it close.
It was when the world seemed a paradox.
Young boys were
Coming home in coffins and yet, among
The death, the
Gardener's roses were unfolding. She
Knelt in front of
The flowers and softly patted the soil
She grasped their stems between two
Fingers and gently
Pulled them to her nose. Her eyes closed,
She could smell
The living breath of the velvet roses.
It was a smell
That took her far from everything.
Salute and she walked slowly to a patch
Of yellow roses,
Plucked one up. She went to the picket
Fence, put the
Flower to her lips, and wove its stem
Into the pickets.
Three yellow roses then lay on the fence,
Little blessings for
The dead and forever gone. And they
Blew gently in the
Wind until a young soldier cupped the
Petals of one and offered
It to the gardener. "I will soon be gone,"
He told her and
Asked for her promise to keep the roses
Alive. So she
Lived to nurture the flowers long after
He died. And
When the time came for her to join him,
A deep purple
Dahlia grew, mysteriously, and laced its
Stem with that
Of a particularly bright golden rose. And
The two flowers
Stretched and caught the light even though
Those who inspired
The blossoms had long since been buried in
Soil that would come
To breathe air into seeds and smell sweetly of
Roses and rainwater.