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Four Bouquets for Bonnie

Beyond the pines which surround your home
I found a meadow, full of grass and asters,
violet speedwell, goldenrod and sunflowers.
I picked a handful, intending to surprise
you with a bouquet for your breakfast.

Beyond the meadow, a deer trail led out
in the direction of your house. It opened
like a calling I could not resist. Beyond
that meadow lay another, and another,
and finally a wall of raspberries, long since

fruited-and beyond, your piney woods.
The deer had never pushed through
that dense thicket. Turn back, it said.
Instead, I entered, carrying your flowers,
and found myself pinned, surrounded,

trapped-but no, not trapped. Embraced.
Not thwarted, held. Beyond, I saw
a pool of ferns beneath the pines
which I had never noticed. Above
me, a loon flashed by and laughed.

And I too laughed, and left your flowers
there as a grateful gift for all things
which bar quick passage, for moments
we are forced to stop and realize
the beauties of our too-brief lives.

The flowers I picked beyond that point
now fill the tiny glass above the sink
and the pitcher on the table. But, friend,
the real bouquet is in the woods,
and here, too, between us, as we sit

laughing at our past-contained,
upheld, by loss as much as love.
Like grass and asters, we will pass,
but above our thickets the world stops and
laughs with us, sometimes, for a moment.

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