Springtime in the Garden of Agony

Imagine I am petting the soft head of a white peony,
full bloom, first cutting—holding it

in the hollowed out crook of my arm, like an unbroken
egg, afraid of its yolk—the small chance

that it might leak inside the membrane,
and as soon as I open the shell, its once whole soul

will spill out onto the floor. And I,
in my hurried foolishness, quickly cleaning the mess,

rinsing it into a garbage disposal
until its last string of yellow goo is sucked

through the drain’s black rubber teeth,
as I stand over it in horror, shell fragments littering

the countertop like torn petals, all that is left of you—
a sick reminder of me—

while the room grows wild with arms waiting to touch you,
and I want them to touch you,

take you far away from my negligence. It happens
so fast: the hospital gown, the heaving, all your shattered

pieces scattered in my lap, the bed begetting ghosts.
My hands screaming for what’s left.

Last updated November 14, 2022