The flowers fall to the ground
like fat red raindrops on the sidewalk
until our boots grind the soft petals
into smudges the pavement
or the sun dries them into purple husks,
misshapen and wrinkled without the tree
to provide protection
or just a place to stay in the sky
with the leaves and the black birds.
Instead, they return to the dirt,
making friends with the rocks and ants.