Flowers in the Dark
The young man holding flowers
delivered our food in three boxes.
Loose potatoes and apples, lettuce
partially wrapped beside a box of butter,
berries, almonds, and Greek cheese.
He wasn’t sure which flowers we liked
so bought three: one, wrapped tulips
and two alstroemeria. Did we like
the purple or peach? He stood
in his buttoned rust jacket, a shadow
of the boy who graduated with my son
six years ago, now a generation
of wise old youth holding flowers
for their elders. Which one don’t you want
he asked. It will look nice
in my apartment. He stood there
six feet away in the dark
having delivered our groceries
holding a bouquet of flowers
that I’m not sure he really wanted
or knew what to do with
once back to his other world
the one without flowers
or any place to put them.
My brother, my daughter, my father,
my wife. A cloudy eye, piece of leg
and vanishing arm.
An asymmetry in stride, an upbeat cheek
adjacent to uncertain lips.
The visitors come whole, hoping to embrace
the broken pieces of those they’d once known
but have been disassembled
as they try to reconstruct.
Outside, under searing light,
the rehab grounds remain dressed
in autumn finery: greens and golds
atop fiery trees, a harboring mountain,
glass-walled rooms that look out
and allow a looking in. My son,
my husband, my sister, my dear friend.
We hold the pieces of you
and let the pieces fall.
Mark Saba has been writing fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction for 40 years. His book publications include four works of fiction and three of poetry, most recently Two Novellas: A Luke of All Ages / Fire and Ice (fiction), Calling the Names (poetry) and Ghost Tracks (stories about Pittsburgh, where he grew up). Saba’s work has appeared widely in literary magazines around the U.S. and abroad. His is also a painter, and works as a medical illustrator at Yale University. Please see marksabawriter.com.