Had I Not Been Awake, That

By John Daniel Thieme

a child
then whispered in the night, humbly
of a rose—a little rose asleep
in the meadow amid the lupine—of
a shooting-star beyond the daystar, keeping
at the horizon:
kindly, the faint star wanders—
and time, perceptibly
beyond her breath; time, the edge
of its light, a ghost
I am within her eyes, and from my hands
rendered unable to reach for her, she, too, a ghost.
I had loved flowers that faded, these
rose petals had I placed
gently on her closed eyes, upon her eyelids touched
the edge of a cool petal, near
until it would be felt cool in time no longer, this
under one small star wandering, perhaps
awake, this
romance of bones kept as relics—after
faith and plighted troth has faded—but kept
nonetheless, as
the scent of rosebuds from the dust.

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