Monday, May 16, 2011

they dropped it

A gardener appeared, waving his toothy rake.
Children with yellow bells in their hands
jumped the fence, snagging uniforms.
One boy trailed a purple vine.

They wouldn't be sorry,
pockets reeking jasmine,
mud staining shoes...
Who deserved flowers more?
Rich people who never came outside
or children stuck all day in school?

The sweaty gardener cursed them,
straightening branches.

Someone else lifted one large pink blossom
from the pavement beyond the fence,
found a scrap of tissue to wrap it in,
carried it home across the sea.

The dried petals lay on a table for months
whispering, Where are we?

~ Naomi Shihab Nye
from 19 Varieties of Gazelle