I think of the peonies. Not the unplugging of monitors and alerts, the white rose on the hospital door, the silent buzz. Not the tears trickling down his face. How He held my daughter’s hand, as she combed His hair and moistened His cracked lips. Not His last moment of coherence, when He sternly read us a to-do list. Not how He gave us passwords and account numbers. Not the burial. The overflowing crowd who honored Him. But I think of how the peony bloom stays tight like a child’s fist and then in seconds bursts into full bloom. How the stem is simply too slender to hold the full weight of the blossoms for any length of time. How the full flower bends the thin reed to the ground and then the petals disappear on the wind. How its glory is its undoing. I think of the peonies.

Carol Parris Krauss is a teacher, mother, and poet from the Tidewater region of Virginia. Her work is slow New South and can be found at print and online venues such as Black Bough, Twist in Time, Pine Mountain Sand & Gravel, Story South,  and Plainsongs. She loves Clemson football, her many pets, and gardening. Her author website is https://www.carolparriskrausspoet.com/

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