I Should Have Watered My Chrysanthemum

The yellow leaves snap and scratch their way
through dull green stems as they fall,
too far gone to know thirst.
The sound reminds me of something I have only imagined:
the rustle of the paper dress from China
that my mother once wore.
When she speaks of it she smiles.
I imagine it fell around her knees and rustled
like the dry chrysanthemum leaves
scraping slowly now across my windowsill
in the afternoon’s fall breeze.