Saturday, July 05, 2008

And now for the roses...

So they prick me, and so do I bleed.
The thorns on the tender stem, protecting itself, reminding.
My fingers prickle from injuries garnered twenty thousand times or more.
They are too stubborn to recoil from the lance.
I squeeze one more droplet, dark and red,
from my traumatized fingertips,
having learned to court the cactus flower.

In my youth, roses were enticing blooms,
climbing my neighbor’s backyard fence.
I would stand in the street and stare,
drinking in their tempting perfume,
knowing it was forbidden to pluck,
but touching a petal anyway, careful of the thorns,
savoring the velvet on my then-unbruised fingers.

After a jolting heartbreak, Roses was a word
on the wrapper of a fresh roll of toilet paper.
In my most private grief, blubbering into a wad of tissue,
I felt the intrusion of this timeless symbol of my revoked love and passion
when all I wanted was a good cry in a bathroom stall.
I folded the wrapping and placed it my pocket,
telling myself that I’d want to remember this moment.

Today, in my prime, I am still tempted by smells which,
by any other name, are still too sweet.
I still feel intruded upon by the prick of the thorns
when my hands are sore and my mind is tired.
But the rose, with its cascading folds of soft, strong petals
is nevertheless the bud I chose to carry in my bouquet.
Thorns and all, the flower is fierce, feminine, and somehow gentle.

Roses thrive.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Oh my---lush and gorgeous, as are roses! "court the cactus"---oh I want to steal that one!.....