Flowers For My Mother

The gardens of my youth have become overgrown with dandelions and nettles.

On sunny days, we would tame these weeds to clear our minds.

My small hands moving rampantly, trying to impress you,

Your seasoned tools moving swiftly as an example.

You were always frustrated that I would skip over the dandelions,

That I would encourage them to grow.

When I told you that the yellow buds were just as beautiful as the flowers we planted,

you told me that I was your daisy—

Innocent and hopeful.

Now these words are just forget-me-nots of you.

I try to nurture your features,

The sound of your voice,

The color of the roses in your cheeks,

But I only have poisonous memories as a fertilizer.

Because you left me with nothing but a bouquet of azaleas—

Wishes of good faith that have turned to deceitful snapdragons.

You replaced the daylilies and primroses of my childhood love with needles and pipes,

Poppies run rampant in your veins and yet…

I still wish for you on dandelions.

Dreams of you fill my mind,

But the petals of the zinnias we planted wilt with each passing year

And forget-me-nots conjure memories of the ring on your finger cutting into my lip like thorns,

Blood spilled the color of the roses I wished you would gift to me.

So why do I yearn for your affection and your daffodils

When I should be planting yellow carnations in your memory,

Scattering petals on your gravestone.

Because I know the only flowers you look forward to picking are narcissus blossoms

And when I nurture the forget-me-nots of you I realize that you never encouraged me to grow.

You pruned and you picked and you pinched but you never watered my parched heart.

But I grew anyway.

Without you, I blossomed.

Without you, I flourished.

And without you, I have learned that forget-me-nots are useless to those that have already been forgotten

But, I still smell roses when I hear your name,

Still fill my vases with flowers you would love,

Still trim my gardens by your example.

When the vines of your abandonment crowd my mind, it is difficult for daffodils to grow,

Impossible to forgive myself for the hatred that has grown inside of me with your name as its fertilizer.

A useless attempt, trying to forget the abuse you let blossom in my life.

So, for the last ten years, I have banned forget-me-nots, tiger lilies, and honeysuckles from my gardens

To weed out the memories of you.

I have ripped out the marigolds that you have grown in the garden of my mind and Planted nightshade in your honor.

Because, even as I’ve been shipped from gardens to flower pots that will never truly feel like home,

Your weeds stay with me,

Thorns stuck in my skin.

Even when I was your daisy,

You were my bleeding heart.

A tragedy that poisoned me.

Now, I am becoming my own antidote.