"heart transplants my friend handed me:
four of her own peony bushes
in their fall disguise, the arteries
of truncated, dead wood protruding
from clumps of soil fine-veined with worms.

'better get them in before the frost.'
and so i did, forgetting them
until their june explosion when
it seemed at once they'd fallen in love,
had grown two dozen pink hearts each.

extravagance, exaggeration,
each one a girl on her first date,
excess perfume, her dress too ruffled,
the words he spoke to her too sweet -
but he was young; he meant it all.

and when they could not bear the pretty
weight of so much heart, i snipped
their dew-sopped blooms, stuffed them in vases
in every room like tissue-boxes
already teary with self-pity."

- mary jo salter

image via emequalsme

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