Paul Bailey

I love the mournful beauty of anemones.
They’re heavy drinkers. You can almost sense them-
after a day or two trapped in a vase-
groaning for water.

Ranunculi are much the same.
They’re brighter than their purple cousins-
flauntingly yellow, gayer in spirit-
but just as thirsty.

Why do these guzzling flowers call to mind past grief?
I had their need for water once,
Though more dramatically.
I craved a final immersion.

It wasn’t coming. The rivers I was drawn to—
the Thames, the Arno, and the Tiber—
all offered invitations I declined.
I stared at them beseechingly, and fled.