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Sport 14: Autumn 1995

My Father’s Flowers

My Father’s Flowers

Otherwise, he had an aversion
To projects of beautification,
Preferring the rugged or jagged

Sawed-off ends of pipe and chain,
Cemented post holes and black clods
Of soil, to the finer, delicate world

Of lace drapery and placemats,
The surgical accuracies of cooking
And cleaning he left to my mother

And sister. But, after the doctors
Pronounced his death sentence,
One year, maybe more if his luck

And kidneys held out, he improbably
Planted rose bushes, dozens of
Them, along the fence and driveway,

And spent hours tending them, clipping,
Pruning and pampering them. He
Preferred the deep reds and soft white

Buds lined with delicate veins and would
Sit in a folding deck chair under the
Umbrella tree in the back yard, chain

Smoking and surveying the progress
Of his garden. The medication he was
Taking made him susceptible to cuts

page 150

And he often bled from his fingers or
Cheeks, from thorn scratches or
Razor nicks, his blood failing to clot,

Dripping in thin lines down his wrists
Or face. ‘It’s nothing,’ he would say
When I pointed to this or that cut, and

It was only at my insistence that he
Would wipe away the lines with
An old wash cloth or wet paper towel.