The Rose that Lupe

synanpses 2
By Tamara Madison

The rose that Lupe
gave me perches all day
on my desk, in the lip
of my blue commuter cup
for I have no vase to put it in

It wilts through “le jour et la date,”
the conjugations of aller
and the English class admonitions
to Shut the mouths up
and Get your face back
in your seat
. And every time

I rest at my desk
its deep and worldly sweetness
reminds me of the gardens outside
where hunched abuelitas
and retired longshoremen
proudly tend their flower beds.

I don’t think they would mind
that a young girl
not yet worldly
has plucked one in its prime
and given it to her teacher
who then, day-battered,
brings it home
and places it in a half-inch
of water in a wineglass

where its petals smash
against the glass, look
like a flamenco dancer’s
cast-off magenta skirt
and smell like everyone’s idea
of earthly love.

Previously published in Crack the Spine.

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