You Embarrass the Roses

You embarrass the roses

I see them leaning together, whispering, looking,

Murmuring in spiteful, jealous consensus

As you pass by

The authority of your stride moving through your skirt

with the subtlety of a breeze

You’re wearing your Mona Lisa smile

And I know

That the secret that fills the vortex

at their centre is darkness, emptiness –

Their petals shamefully shroud this painful secret

Until time undoes the strings of their bodice

and they are dissolute

The roses know

That your eyes, your centre, is filled with liquid electricity

that is ever lustrous

That liquidity, that electricity

Is the current that animates your animal grace

So potent that, at forty-four,

It’s begun to scorch the filaments of your jet-black hair

And the roses know I ache for you,

and they also know

that your light

and my ache

are the same.

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