Fall and Fade: A Tale of Roses

Moments like this vanish, fading
like those stone roses on the mantle,
where your mama used to light candles

just after twilight, in the grey time between,
so that your daddy might come home to her
full of smiles and those little white lies

he charmed her with so elegantly.
She’d forget the bad times, the marks
he’d write upon her cheeks, the red iconic

finger-paint that reminds you of these fading roses,
these petrified monstrosities of time’s sweet lie –
a bitter knowledge, absolving crimes –

beatings and unyielding tears.
Yet, you know it still lies there
like an old shoe, a slipper

found in an old closet
where she kept so many things: mementoes,
pictures, fragments of love, scattered remnants

of her happiness like so many roses,
so many tears across the lintel of years.
But you know what they want, these roses –

a silent prayer, a voiceless incision
to cut those dark and lonely days from time –

but they never could; and as you take up

this hammer, and one by one
smash these roses like a bad memory,
you count the lies he’d spoken –

 letting each of these ruinous roses fall and fade

Steven Craig Hickman ©2014 Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author is strictly prohibited.

Note: these pictures are from Clarence John Laughlin – Many historians credit Laughlin as being the first true surrealist photographer in the United States. His images are often nostalgic, reflecting the influence of Eugène Atget and other photographers who tried to capture vanishing urban landscapes. Laughlin’s best-known book, Ghosts Along the Mississippi, was first published in 1948.

2 thoughts on “Fall and Fade: A Tale of Roses

  1. I can identify with this poem. My father left us when I was still in elementary school and it tore my mother apart for the longest time. So many times we had to comfort her while trying to understand ourselves what had happened and how we felt towards our father. I don’t talk to him anymore.

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    • Yea, I think many of us have lived through this. I admit my father never hurt my mother physically, but mentally he abused her viciously… and, then it happened again with an abusive step-dad as well… such is life. We move on, try to mend our wounds the best we can, survive, keep moving on…

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