Wild Flowers in a White Paper Cup

Love came when I was too young

and you were too old.

Knowing glances, stolen kisses , and sweet talk

kindled a fire that would not die

but could not burn bright.

Still, we had a glimpse into the well.


In the morning, you brought

wild flowers in a white paper cup

and placed them on your desk.

Flowers, like love, who grew with

no rhyme or reason. Colorful,

prone to disapproval. Mowed over.


By end of day, it was okay to

give them as a gift with the excuse

of not throwing them away.

Wild Flowers  that grew not

to please or look a certain way,

rescued, treasured,  and saved.






Like seeds carried by wind, our lives drifted

and grew again in other places, other times.

Life was mired in ordinary and good.

But, I felt lost to you, I missed you,

Silently, nightly, I wrote in my mind’s diary,

” Where are you? I love you”


Love was still there when I was older

and you were not too old and

fate stunned us with chance.

Our lives were jangled awake.

Hope sprinkled in every word.

An answer to your prayers, you said.


You came. You brought me

wild flowers in a white paper cup

and I cried.

Letters passed, treasured.

Plans were made, our lives re-imagined.

Wilted flowers grew strong again.


And then the message….

You told me you were dying.

Cancer had returned.

“Don’t come, you said.

It’s too far; it’s too late”.

“I love you,” we both said.


We were about to

step out onto the dance floor,

when it cracked open

and left us reaching for the other

across the divide until the

grey veil of death was final.


The mourning was unrelenting.

I thought the flowers died.

But time and again, aching memories bring

them to life. Surprising fantasies take up

where memories fade.  A blue-eyed child,

named Lillee, of course, made her debut…

Now, I’m old and you’ve been gone

thirty years. And still I love you and think about

our  life that never was, but could have been.

I wonder if our fateful song

was karma from a past spent together

or the universe’s last gift to you?


No matter, it’s time to make the journey.

It’s time to write the last page in my diary.

With miles behind me

and a full moon lighting my way,

I’m ready to release the weight of death

in this lifetime.


A white skirt brushes my ankles

as I glide down the aisle of tombstones

with the heat of a bride ready to take her vow,

and gently place

wild flowers in a white paper cup

upon your grave.


by  Patricia Brawley, PhD, LPC | Photography by Alvan Nee

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Patricia Brawley

Dr Brawley offers a holistic approach to treatment. This could include traditional talk therapy, assessments, journaling, dream analysis, writing, viewing movies, reading/writing poetry, learning mindfulness meditation and using other creative art forms. She responds to the unique needs of each person. She promotes harmony among the physical, psychological, emotional, spiritual, interpersonal, and vocational aspects of each person's life. She believes that people want the best in life and to be their authentic selves.