In the old books, a silk merchant
steals a rose for his daughter
from a private garden. The rose
is fabled to be the most exquisite
in the kingdom. Its pallor
could match that of the fairest maiden.
Often, I dismissed the idea
of a single rose gaining such status
or summoning such desire. After all,
it was a storyteller’s song. Yet, last night
when the desert cooled at dusk
you found a branch of the rose bush
blocking the sprinkler. You snipped
the sprig with a frail bud
about to open — and brought it inside.
I placed the plant in a glass vase
with water — expecting it might die. This morning
a symmetrical bloom
leans forward in praying mantis pink. Just there
bidding me to sigh, to trace
its contours with the light hand
of the heroine in the fairy tale, to know
and feel as she did when first given
the flower, the coveted gift.
I sense her subtle pulse
radiating through stem, petal
and leaf, the vine work
of my own wrist. This is Beauty’s rose
our rose. Summer’s offering
in the worst of high heat and rainless hours.
A bribe to believe.
Beautiful painting is by 19th c. artist. John Waterhouse