A rose is adored when in bloom,
encouraged when unfolding,
welcomed when a bud,
and rejected when she wilts.
We admire her beauty
and bask in her sweet scent,
but we forget that she is mortal.
My mother was born a rose.
Growing up, at times
her thorns would prick me
and I’d feel pain, if only for a matter of seconds,
before she’d pick me up and I’d feel
the softness of her petals once again.
In present time, regardless of her perfume,
she carries a sweet scent about her,
a flower always in bloom.
My mother is not an athlete,
but she stands tall and graceful,
a ballerina always ready to perform.
My mother is a rose and I forgot of her mortality.
I have not witnessed roses
engaging in cannibalism,
weathering themselves away,
and yet, my Mother’s body is at war
with itself; her very beauty
the source of her pain:
my mother is wilting.
The kitchen counter lies covered in medical bills,
pink ribbons coat health booklets,
the question of everyday is
what did the doctor say?
She visits the doctor
more often than work
and when I ask how she’s feeling,
she responds she’s okay,
but I recognize the fear in her eyes:
she doesn’t know….
Nobody knows what will happen.
My rose lived a strong and healthy life,
but roses are only mortal in their season
and begin to decay.
Now it is my turn to go the garden
and tend my flower.
This year has brought me pain
and rains of salt, but it has also
returned my green thumb:
I develop a closer bond with my mother each day
and together I plan to nourish her stem,
so that one day I’ll go to my garden
and forget there was a time when she did not bloom.