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  • ashtonkuehn

The Poppies Man

There was a gentleman a few years ago when I worked at the nursing home that would sit and watch the poppy flowers grow outside his window. Every morning I would find him in his stiff-backed chair, staring out at the orange and red blooms. Once I asked why he didn’t go outside to look at them, and he simply replied he was too frail, too old. So every day he watched the poppies from his window, every day until he passed.

Not one person came to visit him. No family, no friends, no one. Once I asked the head nurse if she knew where his family had gone. She replied that no one wants to visit someone who won’t remember them.

So I would sit with him, watching the poppies grow outside his window. He was happy, sitting in silence with the company and watching the flowers grow. He would mumble names from time to time, a passive terror in his eyes. Once, he looked to me and begged me to save his brothers. I told him I would do my best, but then he slumped in his chair, defeated, saying it was too late. They grew the poppies now.

The Poppies Man is gone, but I still visit him on my days off, bringing his namesake flowers from the garden that he watched so carefully. I bring them for the Poppies Man, and I bring them for his brothers. I wish I could bring poppies for all of his brothers, his father, his sons, but there are just too many in Arlington.


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