mille-fleur :: j. p. grasser

The whole house smelled of lavender
from your soap and body oils,
and if my synesthesia were more refined,
I’d have seen the scent spread its taproot
from beneath the shower door
and blossom into a cloud of lilac
against the kitchen backsplash,
purple the record player puttering in the corner
where we’d forgotten it in our haste.
As you lathered your hair
with shampoo, overpriced—gardenia
and grapefruit—I watched Antiques Road Show.
What disappointment that woman found
surrounded by beauty, the lowball appraisal
of her 18th century mille-fleur china,
all 51 pieces intact. So began my accounting,
as I lay beneath our floral duvet—
fuchsia hyacinths with lime stalks and vines
and sepals which do not seem to belong
to a hyacinth at all—I began counting
the thousand flowers in my life. By then
you’d joined me, and your heart bloomed
and withered and bloomed below my ear.
A figure, I thought, for the movement
of seasons. A figure I might’ve forgotten,
if not for this morning, when, rising early,
I saw your cheeks, rosy with warmth,
and a tuft of your hair, sprouting
from the hyacinths like wild onions
in April and frosted with sleep,
and I remembered wild onions flowering
in the heartland, millions of wild onions,
their blooms each discrete tesserae
in the greater lavender mosaic,
which is whole and is beautiful,
and I sensed it then, on the edge
of sleep myself, there is nothing
in this world which disappoints.