Suzanna and Mama
A Prose Poem
by Carole Mertz

Clutching the blooms to her breast, Suzanna’s mother, a sterling woman of simple pleasures, entered the villa, vivacious and blushing from the abundance of colors she held, a treasure of more than a dozen tints. She laid the fragrant blooms on the center of the tiled table, quickly placing to the side her heavy shears, rusted and slightly coated with red earth. She clipped the long stems, forming the various lengths she desired. Suzanna, about eight, stood watching by her side. It was no secret to her that her mother could shape clusters of florals into miniature masterpieces. Her mother, unsurpassed at combining these beauties into baskets, small boxes, and vases of contrasting colors, was soon in need of more containers. She chose, for Suzanna alone, a slender, blue-stemmed glass into which she lovingly inserted a single yellow rosebud whose center seemed sprinkled with cinnamon. The young girl, busily sniffing the fragrant head of each flower, became dizzied by the plethora of pleasant smells floating through the sunny room. “Mama Mia! You are a busy girl,” declared her mother, bending to receive an olive-throated kiss.


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