Letting Flowers Go by Alexander Etheridge

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Letting Flowers Go by Alexander Etheridge
Illustrated by Sue Babcock

I stood up at last and took a step into another
world—I walked for a hundred years and flew up
into a memory, the shadowy vision
of a desert valley, every inch
dry as a thistle blossom. I fell and I fell
again, there in someone else’s life,
remembering with another man’s mind
a dark chapel in sudden nightfall.

In my only life the skies crumble upward,
falling into black matter, and everything
carries the scent of ancient graves. All I see are 
ways to peril, paths to that silence just before
a great explosion. In our lives there’s only one
question—a wordlessness, the ladder to a throne
of stars. All we need to know
are cherry blossoms and sweet white-fire dusk.

We want to learn how to walk away,
how to let go, let the moon cinder,
let everything we love turn into snow. We’re alone
with each other, all of us alone, with a scent
of orchard blossoms breezing in through the open
doors—we’ve been quiet and still, waiting
for so long. But our time is beautiful, as we’ve learned
watching it go, go back into the cool night.