Petals, once pale and velveted as apricot,
spread out like dancer’s flounces
the moment before returning,
hanging on the last reverberation
of the last note of her favorite song.
I wanted to take a moment each day and
clip the thorns that still curl disapproving
downward like bird beaks of bromeliad pink.
Each stands still alone.
Decaying the days I tick away inside.
I wanted to beat back that shadow
that creeps over our bloom and eats
Away the flesh, only leaving
apricot kernel, worried dry.
Leaving the hall, she hummed a stray bar of that
overplayed song and smoothed,
starched with evening sweat now dried,
the flounces that crinkle like Petals, crisp as ancient vellum.
Gretchen Bartels-Ray lives and writes in San Diego, California and is an associate professor of English at California Baptist University. Her poetry has appeared in The Ekphrastic Review and KAIROS Literary Magazine, and her flash fiction has been published in Every Day Fiction.