On the Death of a Flower

I never see it coming.
I'm always surprised
To look down and see petals,
To look up and see death.
This thing of beauty, now necrotic--
I'm always surprised, but
It shouldn't surprise me, for
Such is the end of all the living.

And not only that:
I should have seen it coming
Because the flowers I see most readily
Are the flowers that die by my own hand—
In what I have done,
And what I have failed to do.
My hand which neglected to nourish
My hand which cut off and cut away.
I have not celebrated beauty,
Nor have I cultivated it.
I have killed it, I have consumed it.

I ask the angels and saints—
and you, my brothers and sisters—
When my hour of need comes,
When my cry for deliverance goes out,
Treat me not as I have treated
The least of these,
But as a thing of beauty,
To be celebrated, cultivated—
Not to be consumed, but to be seen.


Popular Posts