Petals from a Dying Bouquet

by Hilary King

lay below the vase like unopened love letters,
their scent as delicate and departed as the myth
of the ambitiousless woman.

Lips don’t forget to kiss. They wait
for anger to evaporate, edges curled
towards history. Another petal flees

the aging stems, joins her sisters
lying on velvet spines, their natural hues
sgraffito’d by time. Each hour more

will fly, creating in soft reds and yellows,
a graveyard, or a garden, a bed
for better worms.


Hilary King’s poems have appeared in Salamander, TAB, DMQ Review, Rogue Agent, Fourth River, SWIMM, and other publications. Originally from the Blue Ridge mountains of Virginia, she now lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her family, a large dog, and a cat who withstand it all.

Image: Gayatri Malhotra

Image description: a black and white close up of a wilting peony.

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