No one saw the rose surrender,
just a drift of red petals on the black piano
and a naked stem leaning in the vase.
The petals fell at once, in flawless accord,
making a sound as faint
as the scuttle of a mouse.
Before this, when the bloom was full,
when the petals could stretch no wider,
there was a point of perfection,
an instant too swift to catch.
So it must be for us,
a day, an hour,
that finds us as lovely
as we will ever be,
from which we move on,
blessed with not knowing.
Jean Ryan, a native Vermonter, lives in coastal Alabama and believes that retirement is highly underrated. Her writing has appeared in many journals and anthologies. Her debut collection of short stories, Survival Skills, was published by Ashland Creek Press and short-listed for a Lambda Literary Award. Lovers and Loners is her second story collection. https://jean-ryan.com/