After the storm,—for Jack Myers
by Daniel Nathan Terry
graveyard flowers litter Shipyard Boulevard — petals of plastic and silk, stems of stiff wire. As we pass over the wind’s wreckage, you stare through the passenger window and say, “Sad. I wonder who picks them all up?” I would answer the obvious — inmates on work detail, a road crew, the caretakers — but you’re not asking about jobs and duties. I know you; you’re wondering who these men are inside, whether it grieves them to gather these tattered bits of color into black bags and toss them away as if they hadn’t been picked by fingers opened by loss. As if they weren’t mementos of what finally becomes of us all.
Because of you, I want to be the man who knows which garish bouquet goes where, who brakes in the middle of the street, door flung wide, then peels each false leaf from the asphalt, gathers them all until the last fake flower is whole again and tucked respectfully back into the smooth green blanket so carefully drawn over the dead. Or better yet: for you, I want to be the kind of man who sees this sad morning as the evidence of a blossoming, or the fallen confetti of a parade — as if the dead woke during the storm, threw back the covers, and danced in flowers and thunder until the sun came up.