In my clear vase, I see the flower stems

This morning I went outside to cut some roses for my dining room table. I spent the first fifteen minutes snipping off decayed blossoms, deadheading. Several of the blooms had one, two, or three petals, still vibrant in color, still clinging to the hip. Some were nestled cheek by jowl with tight-in-the-bud flowers-to-be. Others were the sole occupant of a lonely stretch of stem. In neither case could I bring myself to end this small burst of deep pink. Later, when the wind and rain have battered them naked, and the sun has shriveled them dry. Then, will I return and snip the branch clean.

I cut two stems of rosemary and a single rose. They sit by me now, on my right hand. The rosemary stalks curl upward; the head of the rose nods.

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