Gray Petals

November 21, 2008
By Melanie Walsh, Mt. Prospect, IL

Sometimes that bird outside
my window would call to me,
singing morning, and
my hazy gaze would pan toward
the white windowsill,
and I would see
those dying roses.
Amidst the clutter on the wooden ledge,
trophies and loose leaf paper,
black picture frames of
childish smiles, I see the small glass vase,
Its water turning,
A sort of black, oozing sewage,
Thirsting after the life of the blood-red roses.
Both petal and flower each day fled
from the ripeness
Of blossoming love toward
The gray of oblivious busyness,
Unacknowledged loneliness,
A consumed but empty life.
Too ambitious to
Mourn the death of young love.
Every day, I saw those flowers, and never once
Did I think, never once did I cry
Over nature’s symbolic irony.
And, alas, only yesterday did I realize they were your flowers.
Only then, did the memories of the past burst
With full force, breaking
The glass barrier of the present,
With the sharp shards catching at my skin.
Scene after scene of the past, before my eyes
like an
Old home video.
“These are such beautiful flowers,”
My mom says, half to embarrass me and
Half proud, as she flips up the faucet,
And fills the slim vase with clear,
Pure water.

Each day, in the march toward death, the dying roses
Shouted to me,
“Fight against the grayness!”
But in their last request, I denied them.
Now in regret and honor, I will not move that vase,
But rather, remember it for what it once was.

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