A child who saw these peonies in a vase asked if the rose-pink ones are screaming. These are the last of the peonies grown locally. Done for the year.
No, I said. They are falling apart beautifully in the manner of their species. The flowers are spent.
They were pillar-box red. Their colours change and fade. They are curling up, shriveling. Their petals will fall and they will be done.
I went to get her a cold drink because it is very hot today.
When I came back, the little one had propped the peonies up against a wall.
She did not entirely believe me about the no screaming.
I hoped against hope that she wasn’t hearing screaming.
She drank a little. Then she put the glass down on the floor.
She took each peony and laid it down on the table. Falling apart, she said. They need to rest.
You’re telling her nonsensical things, her mother will say to me.
Now she’ll be asking to bury all the dying flowers. It’s all very well for you stirring things up.
I should make you go with her to the compost heap with dead flowers and explain the whole thing to her: worms, stench and all.
Yes, ok, I said.
I thought: the worms will keep the little one bemused for hours.
What sound(s) can we agree that they make
slithering, sliding, squirming, squealing, smooching, smarming and slobbering, swilling and slurping all over each other, smothering and squashing each other ecstatically in their foetid paradise?
This will be interesting, I thought.