Let me hold your heart like a flower, lest it bloom and collapse. Lest? Unless. Unless it should, unfortunately, bloom and collapse. Or– wait. If I hold your heart like a flower, I’m trying to prevent it from blooming and collapsing, yes? But the blooming part is the good part. The collapsing would be the unfortunate thing. Let me hold your heart like a flower, because this will result in its inevitable collapse? As flowers go, holding them is usually understood to mean in bouquet form, sans root. You’ve clipped them off at the stomach. They get no more food. Dip them in water, sure, keep them moist for a while, but that’s a collection of corpses you’ve got all wrapped up in tissue paper, there.

Really, holding the flower has nothing to do with its blooming or collapsing. I could hold it as carefully and lovingly as possible but I’m never going to bring it back to life. Perhaps it should be let me regard your heart like a flower where it stays securely in its potting soil and lives a long a full life. As long as flowers’ lives go, that is. Which in my house is never too long. The soil based ones, I mean, of course the water-sucking zombies are doomed but even the ones we plant and nourish seem to all meet a speedy fate. I have this cactus that a month ago I swear was its normal old round self, like a porcu-pineapple. As of this morning it is a deflated balloon, barely standing, a quarter its former size. The others in the same pot seem okay, but this guy is toast. Some phantom cactus vampire has come around and sucked him dry.

On the whole, though, flowers do better with the staying put and the soil and the sunshine. Not the holding. Unless you want to prevent it from blooming in the first place, which then I guess would be followed by the collapse, yes, but without ever blooming can you really call it a flower at all? Let me hold your heart like a bud, lest it bloom and collapse. Not that buds are typically held. More often smoked, if handled at all. The metaphor falls apart. Gotta stay flower. Let me hold your heart like a flower. Because I do not want anything to happen to it, good or bad. I will press it between pages, check on it periodically, year to year, see how brittle it becomes at the edges, refer to it as a memento, to trigger in me a faint flooding familiarity of how it was acquired and what beauty was to me when it was as yet pungent, fresh and new.

I will never let it bloom. I will never let it die.