Plastic Rose

10 years old.
I gave her a plastic rose on Mother’s Day
And I said to her, half-lying to myself: this rose,
Unlike the 10 ringgit one
That soaks the scent of the orchard
It was hand-plucked from,
Will never die – and it only cost 5 ringgit.

At 14, I thought she took it too literally,
There it stood planted on the shelf
Among the trophies grandpa had won for his orchids.
There it stands, the plastic rose among golden flowers.

But I realise now that, maybe,
That lifeless flower enshrined alongside grandpa’s trophies,
Was the only trophy she ever got as a mother.