Tell me you love me just as much on the days I wish for emptiness,
as on the days when I surprise you with boundless love.
Like when I bring you flowers each April and you ask why I always pick the bunch that’s
closed off to the world, not yet awake to the awaiting judgement.
And I tell you they’ll last longer this way,
but really, I secretly measure your love for me by how long you keep those flowers alive,
as if my title of daughter relies on the delicacy of a plant not made for longevity,
and on the worst of days, I don’t believe I am made for it either.
Each day I ask if you’ve trimmed the stems and changed the water
as I eyeball the vibrancy of the bruise colored petals,
and I wonder how nature can know what my insides look like.
But you do your part and I too, feel myself blossom, beaming
at the attention you thrust upon them, even though the bright purple
eventually – inevitably – darkens at first, as if giving forth one final burst of life
before settling on a rusty brown that makes my own heart ache dully
to count another April behind us, and another year ahead of us
to flit around the corners of our coexistence, trusting each other’s intentions
but instead measuring our own worth by the other’s actions.