Red Tulip Dreaming



** Published in FIRE Issue #35

A bouquet of vivid red tulips.

I had plucked them

From a carnation bush

In my mother’s vegetable garden.


They sat by my bathroom door, waiting

For a vase.

I lined them up for inspection.

Long and lean, fat and short,

Round and wide.


The tulips, with their long stems,

Would fit perfectly in the slender vase

So I set about washing it

Until it gleamed like crystal

Unlike the glass it was.


Yet by the time I arranged the bouquet

The stems had shortened

To half their length

Like the stumpy legs

Of a garden gnome.


So the short, fat vase would do.

Yet again as I set about

Arranging the flowers

Their stems again had shortened.

Now like roses

In a posy.

I needed a rose-bowl.


I placed them in the water

Yet to my astonishment

They shortened once more.

Red tulips, their heads

Drowning in the water

Until slowly,

They died.


With despair over the

Sodden red petals

I looked up and saw

You there.


It was you that had shortened

The stems.

You that had shortened

My expectations.


The vivid red

In my dream,

Now dead.

© Giorge Thomas


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