A White Poem

She often wondered whether
They slipped from her hand at the same time,
Her life and her bouquet.
Or, if it wasn’t those white roses,
But eyes,
His eyes, that were so green, so blue…
She had never really looked into them until the first time he’d kissed her.
Did she lose it then?
For, somewhere between, ‘Hullo,’
And white flowers,
Between a shy, Charlie smile
And that altar,
Her universe became cradled in his hand.

Before the petals began to dry,
Newlywed squabbles shook the furniture
Sitting at the kitchen table, waiting for him to come home,
She reflected that her heart must be made out of string,
The way the knot pulled whenever his was out of sync.
She smiled at her folly
And went out to prune the roses

She thought she would die from the pain
When they told her she would never bear his child.
She thought
The blossoming pain would consume her,
And she nurtured exquisite grief at her breast
For a while
Life not worth living at age thirty-one.
But they lived,
And he loved,
And her universe kept moving, silently joyous,
Holding Charlie’s hand and strolling along into the twilight.

The doctor had said,
’I’m sorry. If we had caught it sooner-’
And she had thought,
I thought women were the ones who died from it
All those breast checks for nothing.
Oh, Charlie…

They had kept him at home as long as they could.
His world shrank to their yellow, sunny bedroom,
With York roses peeping their heads in by the window,
And hell
Was twenty-four-hour fluorescence and crisp sheets.

And then-
That room, those pills,
A small mountain of them, every day
How did he keep them down?
Slowly, slowly, he was taken away.
She couldn’t figure out what ate at him
In the night,
But in the morning, there was less of him to see,
Less of those blue, green eyes,
Less of Charlie.
She began to hate fluorescent lights
And white walls.
The lilies at the funeral seemed to mock her.

And so-
This room, these pills.
Her bridal bouquet,
With petals falling off decaying roses
How did white roses manage to fade so much? she wondered
And raised a trembling hand to white hair
(That faded too),
Charlie always said that they were smile lines
As he traced a finger along them
And looked at her that way.
She wore her red dress, his favourite.
As she faded, she could feel his hand holding hers again,
She could almost smell the roses from that day
So long ago.
She smiled.
They slipped from her hand at the same time,
Her life and her bouquet.

A White Poem

clarity

North Fitzroy, Australia

  • Artist
    Notes
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