Wilt

By Emma Snyder

There are hundreds of books on the art of drying plants,
On pulling herbs, fresh, and tying them into bundles,
Putting them into jars for topicals and tinctures,
On the best way to preserve a bloom,
Set it afloat in oil or resin,
Press in between wax paper sheets
And make stained glass.

What I give you isn’t pretty.
What I give you isn’t the pressed petals
Found months later as I skim through the pages
Of my thickest book
(Insomnia, Steven King).
What I give you is a well-intentioned neglect.
What I give you is a warning in an outstretched palm.

The camelia sat behind my ear for a day
And behind the clutter of my desk for much longer.
It dried frail, and black and brown
Like one of those still-lifes
That provides a permanent testament
To decay.
The scent still clings to the petals,
A cinnamon stick with all its harsh edges
Rounded out.

I know I should throw it away,
But I recognize too well
What it means to begin to curl in on oneself,
To wear change on your face
Like a birthmark, the purple and black and brown
Of its petals.
I will give it to you, and hope
You will see worth in it
The same way you see worth in me.
We are kindred spirits,
That once-bloom and I.


Emma Snyder

Emma Snyder is a poet and short fiction writer whose work has been featured in Blood and Ink and Pencil-scratch Philosophies. A lifetime Oregonian, Snyder resides in Eugene, where she studies both linguistics and creative writing, and drinks far too much tea. In her free time, she can be found frequenting the nearest thrift shop, or tending to a veritable army of houseplants.   

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