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Image by Gerrie van der Walt

Funeral for Flowers

The flowers on my windowsills
are dying, but I don’t have 
the energy to deal with them.
I don’t want to have to be 
the Chrysanthemum coroner—
determine death due to 
by my own hand. 
I don’t want to have to drive 
my trash can 
like a hearse to collect 
the fragile florets, 
clean up what’s left behind.
Anyway, the trash can
is undignified disposal. I like to 
take my dead flowers 
outside, release them 
from their vessels, grant them 
the ability to deteriorate 
with dignity into the earth
dirt to dirt, 
dust to dust.
Death happens whether or not 
we have the energy to dispose of 
its decomposing beauty, 
and life keeps on living 
whether or not 
we have the energy 
to cultivate it.

Shelby Lynn Lanaro is a poet, a lover of photography, and an avid home chef, who firmly believes that cooking is poetry. She is the author of Yellowing Photographs (Kelsay Books) and an award-winning professor at Southern Connecticut State University. Shelby’s photos have been published in Young Ravens Literary Review and Last Leaves Literary Magazine. Her poems have most recently appeared in Thimble Literary Magazine, Last Leaves Literary Magazine, New Feathers Anthology, and Southern Quill. Follow Shelby on Instagram @shelbylynnlanaro or at to keep up with her work.


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