blackbird online journal spring 2002 vol.1 no. 1



Ashes of Roses

She wanted Ashes of Roses
for our bedroom walls
but I thought that was like
Dentyne chewing gum.
No, she said, Ashes of Roses.
I thought it was good-bye,
not roses but the dusty
residue of incinerated roses.
How about Barbizon I said.
How about a tall, yellow
butterscotch coop
at the Balmoral Hotel
in Edinburgh? Now
that’s something you could
dive into and come up
with a mouthful of feathers
all aflutter. No, she said, Ashes
of Roses, you know
the clinking of a tea set
on a Mexican veranda?
I thought, more like a
window in a pink stucco house,
several ventriloquists’ dummies
sitting in a pile on the sill,
some with smiling faces
pressed against the glass.
No, silly, more like a piano
with the hammers wrapped
up in chamois napkins
so they barely make a sound.
You mean, like when the gamekeepers
make their rounds in the park
at three in the morning
with silencers on their sidearms
and the high fog over the city
has that sickly pink glow?
Ashes of Roses, Ashes of Roses,
not Mysteria, Hawksbill, Sachet
or Monet Lilac. I thought of the way
I could still see her against
my eyelids when I closed
my eyes. I found myself
in a garden of pewter roses,
I thought of all fall down,
I thought of roses made
of silvery ashes, roses
so beautiful that I was afraid
to even consider breathing. 

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