When a rose, a shrub, a tree
looks dead in spring, the policy
I follow is my mother’s Let it be.

It won’t get deader and it may
surprise you. Look the other way
for two years. Wait. Perennials repay

patience. Sometimes. That’s the thing—
if you prefer certain, wish everything
to be furniture-permanent, then in spring

plant annuals. They’re bred to last
the season, pulled when summer’s past,
while perennial blooms go by so fast

you should deadhead them every day.
The plant lasts, not the flower. They
bud and bloom and fade and pass away.

Forever pretty is perfectly suitable
for parlors. But it’s death, the mutable,
that enables gardens to be beautiful.