are they beautiful then,
without their brilliant colors and petals, jutting
without their pollen and borrowed sunshine all around?
when they’re nothing but dusty knotted polyps,
steeped in yesterday’s meal scraps and manure,
the heavy january snow above
are they flowers even then, my love?

she didn’t get to see them that last year
their fastened bulbs still buried tight,
laid sleeping in a lifeless winter’s earth
the same sleepy earth, too hard and frozen yet
to lay her once warm body to rest.

we waited until june,
after the tulips had come & gone, too soon

i think they will satiate me, but they never do
not fully or in the ways i want them to
sometimes i don’t think about them at all, it’s complicated
especially in february-
who buys tulips in february?
i do. now and every year there after
but only ever to remember that day
how the earth froze and the world stopped turning,
how petals weep and turn back to dust; yearning

authors note

this was such a interesting exploration of the mind, word association and metaphor; where our thoughts take us. during a hard moment last week, i was thinking about my tulip bulbs out in the frozen garden, how cold they must be & i had that thought, ‘are they beautiful right not, just as the are, buried, cold, no color, or petals? are they tulips even then?’ its not often i think about tulips and don’t think about my adoptive mom and in particular her brutal winter passing almost nine years ago. the form of this poem (3 short poems with the same title) came from the writing prompt at my weekly writing class last week and so was born this sweet, sad, poem about life and death, grief, the beauty steeped in it all. i’d never thought to write about this experience in my life like this before and the unexpectedness of it feels something like the other side of her unexpected passing. thanks for reading ~ xo,s.

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