The Question


My words are flowers folded under dirt,
protected from the frost,
from all the ravages of earth
and trampling feet, and heat, and too much rain;
here, they cannot be lost
to any elemental pain,
nor picked apart by people for their scent,
sniffed fleetingly and tossed
aside to wither in the wind.
Only the insects crawling through my mind
can snip the petals off,
or keep them; trim the thorns and grind
the stem for sustenance, or not; or choose
to leave them in the soft
rich soil untouched and unabused.
And only I can nourish them to bloom.
They’ll be exposed to frost
and earthly ravages, and soon
the critics all will pick apart the stems,
and one by one exhaust
my flowers’ little nutrients;
like scientists, they will destroy the whole—
albeit at great cost—
to view the inner works: the bulbs
beneath the dirt, the petals piece by piece,
the thorns, the stamens, soft
flesh of the carpels—every piece
so scrutinized beneath a microscope.
But all must not be lost.
Perhaps, though I can only hope,
some passerby will stop and stoop to smell
the scent my blooms give off.
Perhaps, though only time will tell,
some bee will wander by them, and he’ll buzz
among the drifting stalks,
and gathering pollen, from what was
will seed a field of flowers yet to be.
Perhaps fresh rain will wash
my flowers clean—I’ve yet to see.
And maybe, while out strolling, some poor fool
by chance will come across
my words and find them beautiful.
And can’t there, anyway, be beauty in
the barren dirt and moss
where fields of flowers once have been?
In petals cast aside? Is there no glimmer
in the wasted dross
of withered plants? All things must wither.
And is it not the lesser tragedy
to see a thing die off,
than never having seen it be?
All things must wither and die. That’s the doom
of the world, the worthy cost
of letting dormant flowers bloom.

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