When I cut the stem
I knew it was just a matter of time.
I cleared the sill
and filled a crystal vase.
The petals unfurled.
The smell of summer pierced my skin
for three days.
When the first leaf fell
I added lemon pulp and crushed
cut away all that waned–
the shoots were spry
one last day.
I scattered them over green earth.
Flecks of pollen
stained my lips and cheekbones.
About the poet:
Stacy Nigliazzo is an ER nurse. Her poems have appeared in Pulse , JAMA , Bellevue Literary Review  and the Cancer Poetry Project (second edition), and an upcoming book of her poetry will be published this fall by Press 53  (North Carolina). She is a graduate of Texas A&M University and a recipient of the Elsevier Award for Nursing Excellence.
About the poem:
“I was arranging a vase of Stargazer lilies when it occurred to me that they began the process of dying as soon as they were cut. I worked diligently to keep them alive and was reminded of how challenging it can be to care for a dying patient. This poem is a celebration of that role.”
Johanna Shapiro and Judy Schaefer