A tribute

With snippers in her apron pocket she strolls to the road for flowers. From March to the first hard frost wild white morning glories crawl under the mailbox, and outside the cow's reach, tough vines spreading over their own deep roots. Clusters of slender buds unfold beside frayed flowers whose fine-veined funnels still drink up the late sun. Back bent, and an elbow leaning into a thigh, she stoops over the skeins of velour entwined in dry September grass. Like a child lingering over a lace heirloom, she traces the vine back to its roots and with her forefinger, scratches the brittle grass aside. Tangled greens, yield finally to her combing, to the snippers, and are cradled, stem by stem, in her quilted palm. She secures them with a light thumb then raises up, streamers trailing, and hurries them home to the jelly jar on her kitchen window sill. From buttered garlic bread, from boiling spaghetti sauce steam rises to dampen spent flowers that have closed to the dull pink dusk. With a cup of hot tea she salutes the plant: the nature of it, after the gray months come wet March, to bloom again.

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