Last week’s rose

Last week’s rose, aslant in a carafe,
is puffed and piled like a 60s hairdo,
curling at the edges into frills of delicate crescents
like sad little lipstick smiles.

Last week’s rose is dancing on the laminex,
scattering scarlet tatters,
oozing louche scent.

Last week’s rose is on
the pull.

I extend a finger, mothkiss
a petal. Its secret
is as soft as a skin’s wish.

I play the red membrane
between thumbprint and fingerprint, light,
careful. But last week’s rose

is tough! The flake clings
to the terminal bloom
with its yoke of sawtoothed leaves
and its thorned stalk.

Last week’s rose, all tilted head
and curled lip, says,
‘If y’ want a piece o’ me, darlin’,
you’re gonna have to be rough.’

(First published in Sotto)