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Eric Paul Shaffer


For Veronica, Instead


For centuries, poets have been getting it wrong.

They bring 'one perfect rose' to show their love
to their lovers, but now I think
they were mistaken.

I saw a rose today growing
behind the fence of someone's backyard.

The bloom was yellow edged with red
with the obligatory dew glistening on the petals,
the bud pouting open high in the green bush,
so I bent the branch down to me.

There I was on the sidewalk, the flower fresh in my hand
but forgive me.

I couldn't bring myself to snap the stem of the rose
so you could watch petals dropp for days
in the slow dying
displayed in a jar on the kitchen table.

Love is nothing like a dead rose anyway.

The florist will never tape this poem to his cash register
to sell flowers now,
since I left the rose among green leaves.

Instead, I bring you these words,
alive,
just like the rose.

Submitted: Wednesday, March 15, 2006
Edited: Wednesday, March 15, 2006
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