It’s been said
if a thing scares you,
if you don’t understand it,
you must walk a mile in it’s shoes.
See life from it’s point of view.
Embrace it’s way of life:
I dressed like Death.
Painted a death-skull on my face.
Donned black robes.
Wove flowers in my hair.
I was a formidable character,
redoubtable in my presence,
striking in my purpose.
I was a force to be reckoned with:
La Calavera Catrina
reminding us of our own mortality, and how
much of what we do is fleeting.
I was hopeful this reminder of death
would bring about connection,
draw us closer together.
I am friendly and affectionate.
I hand out flowers from my hair,
gifts to friends and strangers.
I might not know their names,
but each rose ends up with someone over the course of the night.
Most are distributed in wild frenzy on the dance floor.
Some are lovingly handed to darling friends in a bathroom.
One is placed deliberately in a breast pocket.
Flowers of friendship, flowers of desperation,
flowers of childlike hope
each rose attempts to bridge the same gap;
A present from Death, a token to say
“We are the same. Let’s be friends.”
At the end of the night
I do not know that I understand Death
any better than I did before;
not unless she, too, tries and tries only to find herself
at the end of the night
empty-handed and the floor littered with petals.
But for each flower crushed into the brown and suspect carpet,
I have hope that one or two are still safely woven in braids
or snugly tucked in jacket pockets.
For of all the flowers distributed,
the one or two that truly matter will come back to me.
And the rest, I hope,
enjoyed the moment
of receiving a flower at all.