Death Becomes Her

“People from a planet without flowers would think we must be mad with joy all the time to have such things about us.” Iris Murdoch

IMG_0420These roses on my coffee table are several days old. Sumptuous and velvety, they have yet to come into their prime. They smell sweet but in three days the odor will be more pungent. Mustier, more of an acquired taste perhaps, of something good turning to bad. Like an artisanal developed perfume as opposed to a mass market scent. Until they are without odor at all.

Elsewhere in my apartment there are examples more beautiful to look at. This one is from a past Valentine’s Day and an old boyfriend whose bloom faded much sooner. The boyfriend’s, that is.

IMG_0386In the bedroom, these ones are wilting to perfection. Their petals are crepey like granny’s skin, their tips are curling and age spotted. Stiff wing-like outer layers make noise like tissue paper while those at the core are still soft, fragile in a different way. The outer petals will snap off and disintegrate into dust motes. All of stooped posture, unable to raise their heads.

“Deep within their roots, all flowers keep the light.” Theodore Roethke.


Know that if you give me flowers I will cherish them for a long time. The leaves in my kitchen echo the ones that are falling from the trees outside. But they have been here for many seasons and will stay until I move out. They will not, however, withstand transplantation.

IMG_0367IMG_0389Dried petals pooling in a vase look so precious. And baby’s breath, although brittle, naturally preserves itself commendably. No injectables there.

“The fact that flowers don’t last forever makes them beautiful.” Damien Hirst.

IMG_0416IMG_0408Vintage flowers and vintage bag converse in the hallway all the while sneaking admiring glances in the mirror.


This one’s head is always turned to the bookshelf. A literary rose. But he does double duty as security guard of my I ❤ NY piggy bank.

“If you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, it’s your world for a moment.” Georgia O’Keefe.

But some, unfortunately, I have to turn away. There are no more available plots in the flower cemetery.

IMG_0433But those whose physical stay has been fleeting remain with me for posterity. In their gorgeous decrepitude they resemble chiffon  dresses, pulpy fruit, Gaudi towers, fleshy human limbs. In photographs they retain all their diminished splendor. And on my blog now too.

IMG_0440IMG_0438“I work with language. I love the flowers of afterthought.” Bernard Malamud

My novel is now available. You can buy Silk for the Feed Dogs here.


  1. Hi, Jackie!

    Just wanted to let you know that I loved what you said about dooming your daughter to have a great day.

    P.S. Have a great weekend.

    P.S.S. Can I interview you for my blog?

    Cinthia Ritchie Author of “Dolls Behaving Badly” Grand Central Publishing/Hachette Book Group Publication date: Feb. 5

    • Hi Cinthia,
      Think you might have me mixed up with another clever, witty, frightfully charming blogger friend as I don’t have a daughter but you can certainly interview me for your blog. I’d be delighted, even as an impostor with a daughter. I’ll pick one up before then, I’ve done worse things.
      You have a great weekend too.

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