Built to Last (inspired by John Prine's "One Red Rose")

by Tony E Roberts

The rain came down on the tin roof,
creating a soft white noise that Lydia found soothing.
“That roof is built to last.” said her Grandfather long ago
and again and again in her childhood.
Each time it rained.
“Not everything is built to last. But that roof will outlive me.”

It rained the day of his funeral and the tin roof held.
Shielding them from the sorrow of their loss.

“Did you remember to give Phoebe her umbrella?” Lydia asked.
“No. I thought you did.” replied Donald.
Lydia sighed, weary of words that went no where.

Her parents had given Donald and Lydia a week’s retreat at the family cabin,
An anniversary gift to the two of them,
And a birthday present to Phoebe, who shared the day with them.
They hoped it might help.
“It’s the least we can do,” they said.

“Why don’t we go to bed early and save clean up for tomorrow?”
Donald suggested.
Lydia was too tired to protest.
She took one last look around the kitchen.

Dirty paper plates.
Crumpled paper streamers.
Half-hanging cardboard sign.
She walked away, leaving the kitchen light on.

As she walked to the bedroom, her eyes fell on the family Bible.
She opened it up and found the rose pressed between the pages.

She heard her Grandmother’s voice from years ago,
the day Lydia told her of her engagement.

“Marriage is hard work,” said her Grandmother.
“I want you to have this.”

She gave Lydia the Bible and opened it up to the rose.
“This is the holy alphabet for your marriage.”
“Your grandfather gave me this rose on our wedding day.”
“I want you to keep it.”

As Lydia closed the Bible on the rose, some of its remains fell to the floor.
Some things just aren’t built to last.

Tony E Roberts

Tony has "A Way With Words" - a Wordpress blog where his poems (and prose) appear. His subjects include manatees, forlorn lovers, Bingo, family, and old cabins. He counts John Prine as his muse.

Last updated March 10, 2013