Blue Flowers

(A cemetery, South St. Louis)

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She wants to find fresh flowers on a fresh grave. She has a name for them: "fresh kills." Or maybe it's "fresh dead." We find a bouquet on a woman's grave. They're white roses, but in the light of the full moon they look blue. She becomes ecstatic, almost giddy, wants to take them all. I try talking her into only taking one. "Why?" she asks. "She doesn't need them." How do you argue with that kind of logic? Then again, she believes in ghosts. "Out of respect for the dead," I venture. This makes her pout.

She's a gypsy. She can trace her lineage back far beyond my knowledge of such things. I'm outclassed, in other words: under-mysterious, and therefore useless in these matters. What is the difference between taking one flower and taking them all? Everything is contingent.

Suddenly I'm profoundly worried about her. Not for the moment, but for the rest of her life. Let her have her blue flowers, I think.

But she's off somewhere else now, dancing through another part of the graveyard.

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