Rose

In a rose garden

With blinding billowing sunlight

Some roses bloom early

Some bloom late

And some not at all.

 

I sit in the court yard

Of the holding place where people shrivel and die

Their souls rotting within their limp, useless bodies

Waiting to be released while their prisons like

Helpless plants that are carefully fed and watered

In the hope that somehow they are happy

As happy as they once were when

They drove muscle cars and cooked for their children

Calling the tykes in from yard covered in mud

With the not much cleaner dog dashing after

Distributing hugs and smiles.

But ahhh, death is a dirty and profitable business.

 

My grandmother looks at me,

She has barely spoken for months

Ignorant of the world around her

Mimicking the thinker with not much more progress than he.

A fragmenting figment of her once troublesome and loving self.

My grandmother’s eyes lock with mine

And something seems to click like gear cogs finally finding their home.

She smiles

Her crinkled face crinkling even further with warmth.

From her wheel chair she reaches out

with her crusty withered hand

she touches my face, gently.

“You are a rose.”

She shakes her head with pleasure and conviction

“A rose”

As if she had just discovered something she had been looking for

“Rose”

As if she had found the cure for cancer

Her head bobbing happily

Her smile stretching wide

“Rose”

Laughter in her voice she looks at my mother sitting next to me.

“That is a rose”

Pointing and giggling at me

Declaring victory and sighing.

“Rose”

She retreats back into herself content with all the world

Ready to stupidly slurp her slop that we feed her by hand

Never to reappear from her reverie.

 

My grandmother sleeps now in the deep dark earth

Feeding the ground underneath the roses

Next to the husband she loved most in death.

I think on her from time to time

Battling an intrepid war

Against my own despair

Dipping, drowning, bobbing in a sickly black ocean

My grandmother’s granddaughter in all her neurotic loveliness

 

But in my darkest hour

When shame and self-doubt pierces my soul like a knife

Looking to my own uncertain future

A wave of wrenching gratitude assails me

Ripping out of me in aggressive tears

Purging years of depression and self-hate

As I begin to see my blessings

Her demented dumb face comes to mind

Smiling at me, “You are a rose.”

In all her life she knew me not despite our proximity

But when she knew not at all

She knew me best

With all her love behind me

Her lovely late blooming flower

Finally,

I am a rose.

This poem is about: 
Me
My family

Comments

Need to talk?

If you ever need help or support, we trust CrisisTextline.org for people dealing with depression. Text HOME to 741741