Valentines’ Day goes unnoticed
Except for a small twig with flowers
Brought in by flattened fingers I barely know.
Picked up on the street just a minute ago, he says,
For you, because hey it’s Valentines’ Day.
My mind opens up like the buds, as it reaches through time to remember:
The day a boyfriend brought me a lily he grabbed from a river bank,
And the day I threw it out into the garden, with the same force I kicked him out, and in the silent days ahead I watched the flower wilt on the rough cement.
The flowers the mechanic gave me last week,
For returning his lost keys, a dozen yellows and whites.
I thought that only in Grahamstown, do mechanics buy customers flowers,
And take the time to stop, thank them, and brighten their day in return.
The fridge magnet on my friend’s fridge that says, “If a guy says he picked flowers for you by a river, don’t marry him, he’s stingy.”
Today slots into my mind’s eye, to become a souvenir, to become another memory.
Today’s soft white flowers fit into a hand that has seen sunlight and hard work, some joints, and a lot of guitar strings.
So he says,
and I, receptive like this flower, though I like to believe stronger, take him in.
The vase in my lounge is actually a plastic Castle beer cup, a leftover from a wild holiday, and the water in it is the Grahamstown regular, with a high percentage of ecoli, shimmering with the risk of lowering my fertility rate.
But this doesn’t dampen the atmosphere – the flowers bobble about in the heat, bright and cheerful, silent and unaware of the trip they take me on with every glance I take.