Maybe I loved the way
her fiery pink work gloves clashed
with the polished wooden counter
where blue delphiniums lay, wrapped
in the splendor of last week's sports page.
Or maybe it was the fleeting mosaic
of crisp leaves and faded petals
I got to admire before she came in
to sweep the short-lived painting away.
Maybe I loved the fiesta of clay pots
adorning rains of purple perennials
and puddles of yellow chrysanthemums
in the baking heat of Arizona's finest summer.
But I know I loved the way
she hastily stripped the long stems
of the dark blooded roses, hacking
at the thorns that once protected them.
I loved the way she gripped five roses
in one hand as she sauntered over
to the guillotine of stem cutters,
snapping the roses in half, or the way
she pierced the bulb of each rose
with a short-stemmed garden wire,
pressuring the rose to stand firm.
And I really loved the way she peeled
back the frayed petals and the bruised petals,
scaling away at the crippled rose, leaving it
naked, scarred, and vulnerable.
But I loved most the way the severed rose
was soon laid down to rest, gently caressed
by a soft plethora of baby's breath and a crown
of leather fern, as all the customers stood in awe
at the renewed beauty of the broken rose
and how through the agony came adoration
because I loved that it gave me hope.