Jennifer Matteson

for my grandparents

She watches him sketch roses

in her garden, his head bowed so close

to the page that he is lost for minutes

at a time, before glancing up

to remind himself of the picture.

He works near the tall brick planter

covered in ivy, under a frail willow slouching

toward the ground. Her roses flower and wilt

each day in rhythm and he records them

like a time-lapse photographer, never remembering

the days that pass until she turns back a page,

says yesterday, and he shakes his white hair

as if trying to fire the synapses manually.

Each petal must drop one by one.

He folds himself, again, over the page,

pushing the thin pencil, and she wonders how far

he will whittle it down before it rests.