White Rose, #187

Do not hide your lonely agony,
your anger like dried petals
starving for water,
your tender bent thorns
which no longer bite.
I see your back arched over,
your arms stretching
out towards the ground.
Wasn’t it the sky you loved
once, back when you had
the strength to look up?
I see you in the garden,
bent on your stained knees
and digging in long thin
lines, planting new seeds.
This was never your birth
but proved to be your destiny.

Do not hide your lonely agony
you continue to wrap
in thick heavy sheets,
beneath a robe of madness,
a form I see sneaking off
out the corner of my dreams,
off behind closed doors,
returning all prepped
and preened. Never once
have I looked and seen
less than that long thin stem
and that great scent
surrounded by the thorns
I would come to know well,
the thorns, that to this day
still scare me. Never think
you have become less than this.

Your anger, like dried petals
does not shoulder me away.
Your shortcomings and longings,
the desire to be your hard
younger self or better
does not entice me
to detest you. You are still
lovely. You need me
and more to my liking,
want me. For that, the flower
you are,right here, today,
on this stem, is the flower
I look forward to seeing.
In both our long, slow declines
back to the ground, the flower
you are becoming is the one
next to whom I will lay down.

Your tender bent thorns
which fend off no one, your
scent of crumbling leaves
which attract no bees,
the browned edges
of your petals where
no butterfly rests itself
between its long flight,
on these I lay down my head
and my life, stake my joy
in this world, not out of
some sense of pity
or some obligation to love
someone you have known
so long, but because you
on the decline are worth
twice others on the upswing.

I see your back arched over
and your lips pouted out
almost in a lament, almost
in a kiss, almost closed.
I love the invisible gap
between then, the breath
that escapes and the words
falling from it. Tell me love
what you think of the day,
of the people passing
and mindless chatter,
the dumb boys who stop
to ogle the new flowers.
Tell me how much you miss it
and how you wish there
were a way to go back
and feel that again.

Wasn’t it the sky you loved,
your arms wrapped around it
and your hands around me,
the petal-lids of your eyes
blinking a signal, a coded
adoration for all people
and all things? But now,
with your body betraying
itself and your wisdom
turned against you, is it
the sky that angers you
or some words I spoke
or the brush of my lips,
tender against your edges
as if I might break you?
I was trying to be loving
and genuine and kind.

I see you in the garden
amongst the rows of stems
all stronger and straighter
than you, all younger
and supple and some would argue
prettier. I would trade
none of them for your
kind face, you gentle
and loving skin, the laugh
that rises from the
inner chambers and your
intoxicating scent. Though
those other roses
stand firmer, attract
more insects, they will
never be you, not
as strong or lovely.

Bent on your stained knees,
hunched over and whining
about how thin the body,
how hard to drink, how
bright the summer light
that you can no longer use,
how the kids used to show
more respect, more
adoration for their elders,
how you should’ve been picked
and given to a loved one
in an expensive bouquet.
I will hear it all
if listening means
being close enough to you
to hear, to lay my ear
down on your sweet earth.

Lines, planting new seeds
along the smooth skin
around your eyes, around
your mouth, the fresh
laughing joy we share daily.
I would take a trowel
and be there next to you,
my hands in the dirt,
my fingers covered
in the dark earth, the whole
time only caring about
carrying and holding you.
If tomorrow the sun
stopped its shining, gave
no more light, created
nothing new, you are proof
it has done great work.

This was never your birth,
to be considered for a moment
common or old or put out
to pasture. At your inception,
when your head first poked
its body up from the ground,
when the sun first laid its
sweet rays on you, from that moment
you were destined to be beautiful,
to be everlasting symbol
and yet, you chose a long life
with me rather than a short life
of infamy. You surely could have
made some young woman happy
for a day, a week, crushed
into a book of memories
and peeked at annually.

Do not hide your lonely agony,
your lament that is obvious
at this stage. It is a waste
of what little time we have left
to sit and talk before the sun
fades and your petals start
their falling. You will go
to the earth and crumble,
be taken down into the earth
or carried off on wind, somehow,
you will give new life
to unmatchable beauty.
I will be there too.
Where you go I will follow
like a bee or a devout
puppy. Our simple love proves
to be our destinies.

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Author:

A day is not done, until it's filled with words.

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