The roses have enjoyed the
Rain so much this year that
I’ve been slamming them all
May in the door, their drowsy

Petal-heavy necks bowing
To my screen door’s guillotine—
Deflowered once weekly and guilty
Of nothing more than growing.

Oh, it’s hard to grow isn’t it? Not
Tall, I mean. Or lost. Or old. No, these
Things aren’t hard, but they’re painful.
And we’ve all had the opportunity to

Suffer: hands bitten by the family
Dog, words exchanged during a fender-
Bender in the Arby’s parking lot, or
Perhaps something so small as giving

Away your heart, then sometime, at a later
Date, having it returned. This is of course
The moment (this last one, I mean) when
It becomes clear that every Fleetwood

Mac song was specifically written for you—
Yes, entire albums, and other things. What
Other things do I mean? Well, things like
Care. And self-care. And caring. And

When we actively care we begin to notice
Synchronicities, like how our friend Karen
Has the word “care” in her name, and though
We’ve been speaking her name aloud for

Decades we’ve somehow never heard it
From our own mouths. With our own ears.
The kind of growth where we start to see
Things we haven’t before, capable of

Feeling things we couldn’t—the type where,
In the lonely depths of mid-February
Our eyes open at 3:15 AM and, exhausted
From pain, for a moment—just a moment!—

We glimpse at the process of forgiveness.
Oh dog-bitten fingers! Oh tender, broken-
Hearted adults! Oh plastic fender-bendered
Bumpers, the estimate is $2,200. All

Painful! But back to the roses slamming
Their heads in the door. They make it seem
Almost too easy. Sweetly-scented hydras
Surrendering their surfeit of skulls—

Twenty-eight more, no thirty—safely
Knowing the heart is buried deep within
The watered, black soil, the sun glowing
Reliably, forever, far above any frost line,

While we, with sincerest intentions,
Attend to our indescribably human work—
Putting on shoes each morning, eating our
Breakfast, and closing the door behind us.