The Bouquet of Love

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Only the flowers are real to me, heavy
scent of stargazer lilies in the overheated air.
I stare straight ahead, not meeting
those eyes, the sympathy, the judgment,
the cloudy gaze of those who wonder
why.

Those flowers, their fragrance an anchor
holding me in place, a moorage, a focus
secure enough for now. Soon enough
we return to a semblance of reality,
the daily tasks I can’t yet bear to face.

But for now
the rest is dreamed, the lamp,
the good white cloth on the table
their bodies. (Oh God, their bodies, no longer
to be nourished by the love I bore them, bodies
in small white caskets, starlit in the fragrant
night.)

 

This poem was written in response to three separate 4/3 prompts for April Poetry month. The title comes from Poetic Asides, asking for a poem titled The _____ of Love. NaPoWriMo 2017 asked for an elegy and Apiary Lit suggested that we borrow lines or vocabulary from another poet. I chose an elegy from Louise Gluck called The Drowned Children, with the lines in italics taken directly from that lovely poem.

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