Flowers for him
If a woman has artificial flowers in her house, flowers that need dusting twice a year but never die, she is closing herself off from any understanding of death.
—May Sarton, Journal of a Solitude
I see my brother in the halls. He flickers and doesn’t speak. At night, if I’m lucky, he visits me in my dreams. I wish he came every night. Maybe he’s busy, maybe he’s resting. Maybe I’m not looking hard enough yet.
If I could, I’d bring him outside with me, to stand in the sun. But he never follows me out. So I whisper to him instead, in the wind, to the trees, hoping he can hear me. Maybe I’m not listening well enough yet.
The last time we hung out, one on one, was in the backyard gazebo. Warm stone, smoothed over with dirt and leaves. It was windy that evening. I’ve swept it clean. I sweep it every day now.
I wish I could give him flowers. People never give flowers to boys until after they die. I’ll plant him flowers and sing to them until they grow tall. Taller than me and the room and the house.
Flowers always die, but still we plant them in the ground.
I wish I could cut you down and take you with me, dry you and keep you pressed in my pocket, but I want you to keep growing so I’ll leave you there and visit often.