I watch her cut flowers,
delicately place them into an heirloom
basket, careful not to bend stems
or bruise petals in memory's trace.
She gathers them from a garden
that grew within a white picket fence
that borders streets and other yards.
A place where hours idle unnoticed.
A breeze stirs sweet scents of youth
past the gate to where I stand,
perched like a bird gazing upon
the early worm that peeked
above surface to gather dew.
Sun plays softly upon her hair,
penetrates smiles of worry-free cares.
Reaching the pathway her radiance diminishes,
each step labored and laced with sorrow.
Flowers arranged in a vase
with precision by her delicate hands.
Vibrant colors separated by baby's breath,
in memory of her father who had the garden
planted a year before her birth.
Watching through the window,
I saw this child sigh with grief,
as if she realized what she cherished
today would be discarded tomorrow.
Draped in colorless fashions of death,
the widow crosses the room and smiles,
at her daughter before returning to bed.
Her ailment, a burdened heart of lies.
The truth, as her father I would be denied,
forbidden to a cherished memory,
the gardener of her mother's youthful eyes.
Copyright 2003 Tracey L. Hardie