The Lamentations of a Thistle

by Liz

Finding a picture stings
As though you had died.
Seeing them, I cannot touch you.
In many, I do not know you.
It is so different.
You are so happy.
Somehow my face begins to burn with shame
And I must look away.
It hurts like death,
But without the glory.
There is no acceptance of my mourning.
I am so hopeless and disgusting,
I must withdraw.
A vulgar thistle infecting a garden of roses.
No one speaks of me.
Nor offers me solace.
They only whisper in judgmental tones
Or remind me disdainfully that,
“Others have it worse”
Then they cut me off at the root,
Leaving my raggedy, unfinished flower
To burn in the sun.
Any seeds I had scattered are too young to survive.
While you, elsewhere,
Bloom without me,
The most celebrated in the garden
Blessed with brightness and unfettered by thorns
Treasured by the gardeners and revered by the passersby.
I sought to grow in your sight
And strove only to emulate your beauty.
It was beyond my meager ability.
I was only a weed in your glory.
A sad little shadow stealing your sustenance
And trying to hide my ignominy behind your grandeur.
I was never worthy to grow in such a garden–
Able, perhaps,
But never deserving.
Such a garden is only a dream,
A flower such as you: an esoteric angel.
I miss your petals,
The cool canopy of your leaves.
It is so harsh here on the sidewalk,
Barely able to murmur a scream:
“I blossomed under your shade,
When we were young, we spoke as equals.
Now I am grown.
They have cut me off at the root
And the sun burns me with his accusing gaze.
Who in the garden can help me?
You are too deep in the soil.”


– February, 2011