Briar Rose

by Anca Vlasopolos

Some roses do take care of themselves, and more.
They propagate, sweet hip seed warmed by bird shit,
send volunteers six, seven feet away. Who, me, they say,
all while their progeny builds yet another and another
hedge so crisscrossed with threadlike needles no
creature but the armored dares to breach it.

I can see me, alone and cursed, back bent, unable and
unwilling to tend the yard, left behind this fierce wall
where the bumble bees roll among stamens, pistil erect
inside these shameless open roses, where carnivorous
lady bugs lap up juicy aphids, wolves to the ants' herd,
where against black then white only the brambles
stand, scraggly, leafless yet
still threatening, crowned with hips like blood drops,
while I behind the ever-growing wall prepare, knowing
the sword and kiss are only at hand for those
who have not lived,
to fall into my ever sleep.

Anca Vlasopolos is the award-winning author of The New Bedford Samurai (nonfiction novel), published by Twilight Times Books, 2007, and has sold over two hundred poems and short stories to literary markets such as The Rambler, Porcupine, Typo, poeticdiversity, Perigee, Poetry International, Barrow Street, Adagio, Avatar, Terrain, Nidus, Short Story, Natural Bridge, Center, Evansville Review, Santa Barbara Review, River Styx, Spoon River Poetry Quarterly, and Weber Review. Anca's favorite fruit is the cherry, with persimmons a close second.

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