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i have to say
you have me thinking about chrysanthemums
and how they bloom in autumn
like so much stubborn hope

how the girls pin their silk facsimiles
to their shirts as status symbols
while the warrior boys play on battlefields
and the old guard comes home to watch them grow

how the mums all hung with ribbon
and tinsel lack the courage that the
unadorned–well, i say that, but they
wear more splendor than the song of songs’ lover

the truer blooms have no need to worry
they dig their roots down deep
and bear the strength and dignity
to let go and fade away

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