SUNY Jefferson
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Ed DeMattia

Her loving fingers stroked the petals
as she lowered the roses into the stream.
Her newborn son had not survived birth
and in her delirium she saw his tiny face
in the bouquet that took his place in her arms.
The petals, soft as his skin,
haunted her as she held them to her breast
a prayer that they would reanimate,
would somehow become him.
But flowers cannot suckle, not even this armful.
They found her bed empty, they followed the trail of petals
to the water’s edge and watched
as she slowly lowered herself into the river.
Her hair mingled with the petals
as the current took them away.