Today she separated the plants so they could thrive
then put the purple ribbon in a drawer.
The basket, much too grand for her,
had been claimed by some niece in the city
who hesitated at first, she didn't want to push.
You cannot ask for the dismantling of the dead,
the cleaning of their closets, sorting of cupboards.
Who will throw away the nutmeg and ginger
when she has gone, drink the last of her wine?
Who will find homes for every ficus and fern,
see the purple ribbon and remember
what a beautiful arrangement it had once been.
Jennifer Schomburg Kanke, originally from Columbus, Ohio, lives in Tallahassee, Florida, where she edits confidential documents for the government. Her work has appeared in Prairie Schooner, Pleiades, and Sou’wester. She serves as a reader for Emrys.