Poetry by Maureen Wilkinson


A rose, distilled by summer’s drought and heat
into this radiance.          Dare I call us perfect,
paired in this brief now,
the rose and I?
The sun grows pink
from petals returning light.
Cells which have stashed
the gaze of each day, the exhalation of each night
hour upon hour.          I lift the flower
to my face; inhale its perfume.
A rose, repeating its own name
from a labyrinth of mouths; pink, open mouths,
stepped one inside another,
which breathe into my head, so that my thoughts
daze into stillness.          Then, at this edge
the pink flower dissipates. 
Unhinges its good maze, like the warm game
where many hands are stacked in a curved heap.
Pressed palm to back, and palm to back, to back.
The first hand pulls away.  Loosed hands fly back,
as empty palms clap on the gap of air.          And now I carry
this rose-ness in my head.  Rose and non-rose
spooling together in a single blossom.   Flower which can never
be the easy sum of its name, or its maze, or its beauty,
but a blaze and its flip-side, spun
like the sun in a mirror.  Who does not reach the season
of juggling this second innocence?
Now summers’ singing, grieving in my head,
both bright and dead.  It is a savage blooming.

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