Sunday, February 4, 2018

The Way of the Rose

The Way of the Rose


When I live to be an old lady, 105, get dementia,
the last thing, the one thing that will dodge memory loss-
how to draw a rose looking straight at its center
learned from “How to Draw Flowers” when I was 10.
I’ve been sketching this image my whole life.
I can do it eyes closed, even reach out of a coma
to render this rose on paper.


One. Begin with 1 small circle.

Two. Draw 2 lobes around it,
a lima bean dissected in Biology class.

Three. Draw 3 lobes, flat and long
hugging the previous two.

Four. Lose the symmetry.
Let your next choice be ‘maybe 4 or maybe 5’
but grow this number steadily
so your next maybe is ‘5 or 6’ or ‘6 or 7,’
some petals flatter, some wider.

Five. Fall in love with seashells
but drop Biology class.
Take 2-D Art instead.
Don’t memorize the kingdoms.
Draw their shapes.


In 5th grade, I had team teachers. One wanted to plan a birthday surprise for the other. We each were to bring 1 yellow rose – the color of friendship- so she’d have a bouquet of 50. My dad suggested I paint her a rose. “But all the others will bring real roses,” I said. “It would be something different and special,” he responded. So I grabbed my paper, brushes, paints, and fell under the Wabi Sabi Trance. Oh, to be the one imperfect petal of her bouquet – not 3-D, soft, slippery, fragrant, fleeting, but 2-D, crisp, bold! My whole life I’ve been trying to give this gift to everyone I love.


The more difficult daffodil you don’t draw
by looking straight at it.
Discard Fibonacci.
Where the rose could go on forever,
the daffodil has its limits-
the weight of its trumpet,
the reach of its song.
The petals anchor
the exclamation, encircle it
to announce its music.
The confluence of corona and base
is the most important moment
in the daffodil’s life.
Capture it from an angle,
center its seam on the page.


Never end
one petal
where the petal
of an older layer
This false rose
is a cancer,
petals feeding
off each other.

A true rose
from a circling
of breath
teasing out
one petal
at a time,
the rose’s joy-
a shiver,

first published in Hartskill Review: A Journal of Contemporary Poetry and Poetics. Eau Claire, Wisconsin: Threw Line Books. Vol. 4, Issue 1. Winter 2018. Print.

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