A conversation with roses

You bloomed in earth’s dirt into the lightless dawn
Where blind bees fly like stones, poise in shadows
And pause for breath — that morning, small as a doll,
Flat sky purpled, I found your name. I found you in a
Churchyard, your petals dripped red, a bloody dye.

I had nothing to do with your guilt by this poorhouse
Where the dead die, where their bones are plaited into
Graves — crowded foot to foot, pushing up flowers,
Breaking the soil, breaking the backs of worms.

In this charity ward, my sister withers beneath your roots,
In her artificial life, she does not stir. And shall I follow,
Borrowing the silt of her tragedy. I remember a whiteness
Stilling her birth cry — mothered in and God-fathered out.

In plastic baskets with plastic flowers my mother lays them at our
Headstones — they do not rot. And the stoned-faced priest
Says, O pardon the one who knocks at her sister’s grave,
She found her remains. I lie in six feet of darkness, insects
Knocking on the pine-box. My last breath silent in my throat.

Copyright © 08/28/17 lance sheridan®