Red Aster by Sofia A-A

Cry baby has trouble saying bye lately
Always needs mama to stay
To hold her fingers and sing her a song
While wishing her troubles away

Mama loved lilies and roses and tulips
Forsythia and calla and coxcomb
She named her baby girl Aster
And imagined she had petals for eyes

Vibrant colors bloomed in June and
Faded away every fall
Mama brought them back each spring
But last June she didn’t come home at all

So crybaby stuffed her mother’s flowers in a vase
before the Tall Hats knocked on the door
The glass was smashed by the wheels of the carriage
And her petals wept and cried some more

Whisked away to the edge of the city
Away from the rats and the fumes
In the carriage she combed her hair
and sniffled while her tears bloomed

Crumbling derelict walls of stone
Decorated by shriveling vines
And the only flower anywhere in sight
Was the boiling sun in the sky

Five hundred girls ate porridge for breakfast
Four hundred ninety nine slept in five rooms
Crybaby curled up in the apple barrel
To dream of red aster and gloom

Nadine was seven but claimed to be eleven
She stole seeds from the market to grow
Crybaby grew lilies and balsam and aster
And dreaded the day it would snow

A lily of the valley was her mother’s spirit
Azalea was her mother’s blue eyes
She put a flower under her head each night
It was dead by the time the sun would rise

Cry baby has trouble saying bye lately
Says mama can’t be too far away
She’ll smell the flowers and walk for hours
To the garden where her Aster must stay

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