Passing Praise by Nancy Schatz Alton
Right now the quiet is beloved, the coffee warm.
The mess is all still life: shoes, Sawzall, empty bags and a hairbrush.
There’s nothing to make sense of, my world is well enough: the last few years
of hardship have leveled off & turned into good news that’s not mine to share.
But share it I do: have you ever held your breath in the not-knowing time
hardly daring to hope? I stood outside & dead-headed every rose with my hand clippers
filling my neighbor with my story, told short, I could do nothing but pluck each dead rose
from its home, knowing the new rose would come if I cut the stem in the right spot.
Slicing was my prayer, how I couldn’t believe everything had come to this.
People are really good at saving themselves. Sometimes.
For now, the story ends well, all that I’m not telling you. I look out my window: this year
I have not dead-headed my rose bush. Perhaps later I’ll spend time with it in celebration,
whisper the good news, thank the blossoms past their prime before slicing them toward
their next phase. Everything continues in some form or another. The coffee pots hisses
in agreement. The wind picks up. Another morning continues.