The flower of sadness

Sadness, too, is a flower.

Black and purple on the outside,
Pink and yellow within,
Its bloom can warm a small room on a cold day.
It is neither man nor woman-eater.

Water it.
Give it space to grow
Speak to it kindly.

If you do this wisely and fearlessly,
The flower of sadness,
Like an old friend you love but can’t stand,
Begins to stake a claim in a secret part
Of your veteran heart.

Then one day
You begin to see it
In mirrors and photographs
And it grows into something else:

A face with eyes that invite you home.
A voice that knows only your name.
A coin glinting in sunlight for you alone.

At last, your losses return
As 40 clowns
Tumbling out of the
Ridiculous but sturdy
Volkswagen of your whole life,
With tricks and riddles to confound you
And laughter
At the beauty,
The goddamn beauty of it all!

                                                     -- New York, 20 December 1996

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