THE BIRTHDAY FLOWERS

Parnassus

THE BIRTHDAY FLOWERS • BY MEGAN GIESKE

A day late,

a misspelled card comes,
and with it a vase of March flowers.

Of the quiet mums,
my mother only planted these at my home
in New Jersey, for resilience.

Of the murmured purple tiger lilies,
my father had transplanted

my grandmother’s bulbs along our hedge,
like these browning, crumpled testaments.

Of ferns’ fronds curled as if beneath our pines,

for sunlight in winter wetness,
there’d been some, just as shriveled.

A week late,
I cut their milky stems at an angle,
peeled off their rotting leaves,
and sugared their flower-water with Splenda.

All I could do for them on my own,
all they left to me being an empty vase,
“Made in the Garden State.”

_______________________________________________________________________________

Copyright © 2015 by Megan Gieske. Originally published in Parnassus 2015 Chronicle on February 26, 2015, by Taylor University.

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