Flower Salute

By Anne Leiby

January 24, 2022

Flower Salute

The flowers bob on the brown swirls of the river bloated with spring rain. As they float downstream, I serenade them with poetry - “the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief“ - words from a Wendell Berry poem, that you, a poet, once told me “was damn-near perfect.”

Each flower I toss into the water has a story you never got to hear: the white geranium, a descendant of the last flowers that made Frank smile; the pale yellow daffodils, a gift from Sue; the tiny scilla, now naturalized into a backyard carpet of periwinkle-blue so vivid that only today’s sky may reflect a blue more perfect.

The blush pink of the dogwood is still packed tightly into a bud on the small branch that floats among the other flowers. That tree, planted in your memory and now ten years old, has been with us as long as you have been gone.

Unlike the peace of the wild things in the damn-near perfect poem, I have grieved, I have suffered, I have missed you, sister. But today, at this place where I slipped your ashes into these waters ten years ago, I watch as the blossoms catch a cross current and turn around. The tiny, ten-flower regatta sails before me, and finally, I smile on this day. I breathe in the joys and sorrows forever entangled in every moment, as the flowers turn away, bound again for the sea.


Anne Leiby lives, writes and works in the environmental field in the Boston area. She is grateful for the life of her sister, Jeanne M. Leiby, a writer who will forever be a source of inspiration. 


Picture by Anne Leiby

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