about growing roses

every year for as long as i can remember

my mom has tried to grow a rose bush.

key word tried.

she calls it her black thumb, the irish blood in it kills every plant she intends to nurture

The same thumb that killed the only food my great grandmother had to grow

She strokes the buds with that thumb in the same way she's wiped the tears off my cheek

after some sort of fungus has infected my life after its worked its way through my insides

that thumb has healed my heart more times than i can count


Rose bushes are perennials-

meaning their beautiful red petals push through the snow every year

and open to their mother, a mix of green and white and pink and red,

shining with dew like a newborn.


the life giving ambrosia of her mothers body gets pulled out of her nose to breathe her first beautiful breath.

Season after season perennial permanent resilient roses return, that is,

if you can make them survive for that first year.

Perhaps roses feel dead every winter.

A rose bush in germany has survived on the wall of the Cathedrial of Hildesheim for over a thousand years

A rose has been to space, brushed the edges of stars, and back, and survived

When I was little my brother told me i was a mistake, because he knew it wasnt true Because he watched our mother choke back pills, get shots, get tested and scanned, probed, poked, invaded, watched procedure after appointment after appointment after appointment, after appointment after pruning herself to make herself stronger, after he watched her back warp over rosary beads, after she pried a wilted rose out of her body, a lump of green and white and pink and red, flesh covered in dew, life giving ambrosia that never finished its job, after she held that black flower in her hand,

she went to space to retrieve me

she brought me back and built me a church of brick wall so that i would be safe for a thousand years so that she could baptize one last rose in dew

Because she promised herself she would never again let a rose wilt before it even had the chance to bloom.

My sister, never took her first beautiful breath. She never got make her way through the snow, to open up to her mother

I hate the smell of roses

This poem is about: 
My family
Poetry Terms Demonstrated: 


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