Oh Exquisite Umbrella!

Oh Exquisite Umbrella

About to mow the lawn, he noticed a flower
and brought it to me. It would die anyway
in a few hours; his gift was to me, not
to the doomed bloom.

I looked at it
stroked it
half an inch across
five unashamedly heart-shaped petals in a
yellowy-cream, like paper come to life
and sap-softened into velvet

Refusing sentiment, it had no scent at all.

Such a weak and thin stalk
fuzzy with elf-hairs.
Oh the memories of endless daisy-chains,
the great flower-massacres of girlhood

I looked, and then placed it
on a book,
got on with my work,
looking at it from time
to time
and then forgot about it

The next morning I got up,
ate and drank all the necessary plants
and went to my desk to work.
For a moment I couldn't see it,
and thought it had disappeared
the way that the smallest things tend to.

Then I saw it beside the book:
the petals had curled around themselves

Oh exquisite umbrella
tiny being hugging yourself
and hiding in furls
so lovely still and still alive
without ego, defiance or any human muck

I have work to do. He is calling me.
I don't want to forget. I can't save anyone
or anything. All I can do is write words,
and be grateful that he stays the execution
of flowers and brings them to me.