Tuesday, January 9, 2018

The end, that nourishes the beginning

You brought me flowers just before Christmas:
so thoughtful -- all green and red and white,
though mostly green,
which is why they're still glaring at me
from my kitchen island -- the greens -- salal,
and some other bits I can't identify --
are still so healthy
we barely notice the reds (now black)
or the whites (which droop)
and their desperate cries --
Throw me in the trash!
I can't be seen like this!
No makeup in the world can repair
the ravages to this face!

Looking at them's a bit
like looking in the mirror --
the foliage is still there --
the hair, the brows, the lashes pale as always --
but the bloom of youth is gone,
replaced (I like to think)
by something that speaks less about appearance
and more about endurance, and about resourcefulness:
what's fragile has been peeled away,
sloughed off, and what remains
is some unwitherable essence,
aware of its inevitable end and yet
determined to continue, to nourish what comes next.

It watches as the ornaments and lights
are slowly stripped from the brittle Christmas tree;
as the stockings with their family names
are tucked into their box,
knowing all the while that the wreath will be left hanging
on the front door for the tiny birds
that come back every year to build their nest
in that soft curve above the bow.

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