"Who wants flowers when you're dead? Nobody." -Holden Caulfield from Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
He nudged me from a dream of nothing, nothingness,
speaking softly in an old man’s voice I knew I knew,
but hadn’t quite heard, before.
He said he was tired from tending too long
to buried, bygone agonies, alone.
(we did plant those together)
He said regret was a weed-choked garden now;
and that he just couldn’t bear the thought
of one more flower-less November — —
I told him that unbearable was: to always remember
how the month turns bitter,
cold, all at once, then grows
hair-less and gaunt from decay
but mostly, the way its chemo-therapied mouth starts hissing;
hurls poisoned teeth out, with spittle-ed grief and accusations,
“And don’t be bringing any goddamned flowers to my grave!”
Do you forgive me now?
he said, you sullen thing, and do you listen?
I was half of your making; you do not own exclusive rights
to every tight-lipped misery and sadness you’ve been saving.
You originated from carboned jeremiad,
with silences already inked into your skin
and November will always be too violent for either of us now — —
I was only ever pleading you’d not wait past my last season
to bother to gather and bring to me flowers
and of course, I do forgive you
(still, that garden can grow only weeds for us now.)