Asters, Lilies, Roses

The room in which I slept
when visiting my grandparents
had twin beds with lily-floral duvets,
rose wallpaper, stained-blue vanity.
I always liked the matching stool
with its spinning mechanism
and needle-pointed aster cover.
I’d sit with my back to the mirror
torquing back and forth just slightly
reviewing the sparse assortment
of paperbacks scattered on shelves
amongst framed family photos
and covered tissue boxes.
I think I was eleven years old
when I swiped a copy of In Cold Blood,
reading it on the sly, fairly
certain I wasn’t supposed to
but wondering why they’d leave
such a book in the kids’ guest room
if they didn’t expect us kids to read.
Reading in the bathroom, in the closet:
“The Last To See Them Alive.”
Asters, lilies, roses. Blood.

Linking up with Write On Edge! “The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there.” (L. P. Hartley, The Go-Between, 1953).


  1. beautiful imagery. love the sneakiness of reading In Cold Blood and bringing the flowers back in the end.

  2. I love that this room, like all arcadias, did not hide the fact of death. I wonder what instinct caused the narrator to hide the book! Your last line is perfect.

  3. As always, your words twist into my head and make me think of my own experiences. My grandma, alas, didn't have anything as interesting as Truman Capote on her shelves.

  4. What a great description with a great counterpoint - the prim and proper decorations with the jarring books! LM x

  5. thanks, friends. i have a right mind to read In Cold Blood again now. hmmm.

  6. This is intensely beautiful and poignant at the same time,loved reading it:-)

  7. My grandmother preferred patters to flowers, but reading this I can smell her guest rooms. Now if only she'd had scandalous books on the shelves! Gorgeous, as ever, Marian. ~ Cameron

    1. why on earth are you appearing as Unknown? that's spooky!

  8. Some day I'm going to get better at criticism or praise or whatever. But until then, I loved this! I loved the detail and the twist. Such a warm recollection and then up pops In Cold Blood. So well done.

  9. there were no attics in my grandmother's homes. you bring that room vividly to life ~


Thank you for sharing your thoughts!