The tulips are doomed,
sitting ducks in tonight’s late frost,
two feet tall and naked. Red as
my mother’s Revlon lipstick, they opened
shamelessly all day in the sun, but close tight now
at twilight, succulent triangles cupping
their deep black centers.
Clustered unaware under the moonless night sky
clear of any warming cloud, they stand
mute, bunched and rooted,
undefended as the air plunges to chill.
In the morning, their petals are puckered,
and beginning to fail.
One severed bloom I found yesterday
floats in a cup of mild water
inside the house –
beheaded, but warm, and perfect.
Published in The Writers’ Café, 2018