Flowers in the Dark
Water only evaporates at night,
With the lights out,
Flowers wilting in the darkness,
A vase growing slowly drier.
Microscopic bristles drop off
Float down decaying stems
Landing on granite countertops.
In the morning time stands still.
Lights go on in a rush
Bustle in the kitchen, faucets on,
Vase refilled, dead leaves discarded.
The scent of shrinking flowers in a vase
Is a slow and steady death,
In contrast to what rises from the ground.
My heart beats somewhere between
Feathers and stone:
Levity and gravity,
Heavy metals from the core,
Magnetic and tectonic
Pulling me back to myself.
In my youth I was a tree and
I stood with others growing roots,
We shared soil and minerals,
Before wind and cold swept our leaves away.
There was never any doubt they would return
Like clockwork in the Spring,
A predictable rhythm of rebirth.
In the present I am one of only
A few in the thinning woods
A plateau of stumps:
Heart flows like water through an oxbow,
Slow and precious curve
I see the valley drop away into tributaries
Where I stand there is a verdant hillside
My heart is a flock of doves
Lighting on the mirror surface of the
Stopping over on a flight path
Through the clouds
Over mountains and meadows to
Some unknown destination.
My heart is warm and I breathe you
Like delicate fire
Blue flame through my veins
The richest nutrients to keep me growing rings
Expanding outward into the space
Around my trunk
Taking shape like the gemstones
At the core of the Earth.
I sit with you and watch,
Leaves coming back to bloom,
Hardened shell softening
Branches soaring higher.
Gena Schwam is a poet and artist who lives in Washington state. She enjoys running and spending time in nature.