Spring 2013

Volume 8, Issue 1



In the Shade of My Neglect


The last time I noticed the rosebush,
in mid to late July,
it had conceded its foliage
to drought and black spot,
its lanky, four-foot stems
bleaching to beige and gray.

I gave it up for dead.
In the shade of my neglect,
in the silent wonder
of late summer rain
and imperceptibly
cooling temperatures,

it revived, quietly reclaiming
its former prominence
in the courtyard outside my studio.
This morning, goosed to brilliance
by the crystalline cattle prod
of the season’s first cool front,

two rosebuds, swaying
in a shaft of sunlight,
caught the corner of my eye,
unfurling one by one
their silken petals, erecting
their delicate cathedrals of yellow.






Clad in a hot pink bikini,
sporting a deep, gorgeous tan
and a flat-stomached body
free of flab, she approached me
with her head down.  When she looked up
I must have gasped, embarrassed,
staring at a face of scars,

each so long, uneven and deep
that the violence which caused it
had to be extreme, life-threatening,
like the jagged shard of a shattered
windshield or the gleaming knife
of a rapist.  They stood out so
from the uninjured flesh around them,

both in texture and in hue,
that even their definition
as new, connective tissue
was cruel.  I wondered later
why I should have expected
them to be otherwise, those injuries
but the aftermath of loss.










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