Cut Flowers

by Robert Carr

When you count daily, 17 years
between your age and your mother’s

age at death — Is there something, pushed
from a brown eye of soil, you’d like to say?

Does the joy of breaking ground — planting bulbs
on a new-found farm — split between preparing

a spring garden and a grave?  Does your plan
for a brindle puppy hinge on an empty dog bed,

the old friend that breathes beneath a blanket
beside you?  Do you shake — repulsed to wonder

if time has come for loved ones
to leave you money?  Are you missing

something?  Or is it just the stems
of tulips, standing in a glass cylinder

growing very fast, rootless, that frighten
you?  Petals, as they pile on a mirrored table?