worrying about her roses the old woman glanced through window panes. she wrung her hands, wrought with frantic agitation. such beautiful blooms took time and tender care. she stood feebly upon her frail legs, twisted like dogwood. hobbling, wheezing, she trudged across her floor like swamp moss. a pot of coffee and the baking scent of thyme (in cookies that would go stale with no grandchildren to eat them) filled her home, mingling with dust, doilies, chipped porcelain roses, and sun-aged curtains. her withered fingers strolled through the yellowed pages of a family album she had saved from a burial of dust. children, like porcelain roses, she ruminated, shatter easily. the family photos, hanging on the walls like forgotten vines were faded, transparent ghosts. sun and memory had over-exposed the images; they lost character and form, the edges were the tattered sails of a phantom ship. stooped over, a bent Atlas, she shuffled to her coffee. again, glancing to the outside, clouded by the boundary of her vision and the counterpane of dust, she let tears fall. and the old woman said, “It’s an early frost which kills the roses.” as the soft, wilted petals fell to the wind.