I cut some roses with sewing scissors.
Placed in a vase on the table
they look prettier than ever. Dew
on the thin, veined skin of their cheeks,
they reek of secrets and promises.
Each folds fragile arms
around a shy heart. Within days,
bosoms are bared, red
dresses torn, revealing
I wait until all petals have fallen.
Then truth stands alone:
yellow unused pollen on a stem with thorns,
crowns without queens.
These will be thrown into the garbage,
buried beside burnt sausage,
peels and lemon rind.
Rape lingers in all things
and I, who have been tricked
out of my clothes, understand
the desperate, lonely splendor
of the fresh-cut rose.
—Published in Red River Review, May ’17