After you died
I planted peonies
in the front garden

round buds like pursed lips
bursting into rampant idealism

the scent pungent
but demur—

their bloom ephemeral
as pink fairies
in the brief hour
a small, lonely girl believes
when dressing up
in dime-store tulle
and pipe-cleaner wings,

wishing the family cat
into a prince
and the dog a steed,

a yardstick-wand sweeping
magic dust through the air—

I think of all this
when the heavy heads
of the proud peonies fall
to the ground,
all hope gone out of them
after a few short breaths,

brown petals strewn wearily
across the brick walk
in the way bluster
and childlike wishes disappoint.

Christine Andersen is a retired dyslexia specialist who finds inspiration for many of her poems in the moodiness of the New England seasons. Publications include The Comstock, Octillo, Awakenings, American Writers and Evening Street Reviews, Glassworks, Glimpse, Dash, Her Words, Rushing through the Dark, among others.