The Colour Grey

Once, roses were red
Marigolds yellow, jasmine white
But the years turn them grey
Flowers lose their colours
Their fragrance, their names.
I ask mother, who am I?
She smiles her toothless smile
I ask her, her name.
She frowns, her eyes turn moist
Lips part, the arms tremble.
She smiles a toothless smile.
Mother, what flower is this?
She raises her trembling hands,
Touches the petals
Smiles a toothless smile.
Mother, I am your son.
Do you remember?
She looks at me, eyes weary
Closes her eyes, slants to one side.
I hold her, lay her down and touch her face
The skin wrinkled, the flesh gone, eyes sunken.
I lay a rose next to her
Ask her what colour?
Grey, she whispers, grey.

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