A bouquet of flowers sits on the table. It's been here for more than a week and the stems still stand straight; the colors still breathe. The blooms could be fake. But their drinking water dips lower each day.
And there it is -- the proof that they're alive.
But underneath that bright crown, brown begins to edge the green. Leaves curl and shrink into themselves. One petaled head trades satin for dry paper and bows out, exhaling something muskier than her sisters. The water is almost gone. They gulp at murk and slime.
I see this but I don't refill the vase. They won't last much longer.
I change the shirt I had been wearing for two straight days, and the night in between.