The All-Gift

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Among the ivory roses, there can be seen the bowing
body of a woman torn.
Reeds resting in milky waters echo
her new name. Even hidden behind crimson leaves’ flight,
the moon never fails to beat
hard on her toiling form. The flower

that tames her hair, white and sweetly-scented, flowered
only yesterday. Pink as a blush and tied with a bow,
her dress brushes the dirt reluctantly, beating
back and forth with every agitated tear
through pumpkin legs and grape heads. Fly
and flutter away they try, but roots hold firm. “No” they echo.

“No, no, no,” they echo,
but she doesn’t hear their cries, doesn’t see her flower
fall. With the others, the rose is buried and her hair flies
frantic, fretting around her crown. The bow
of a key glints and she drops to her knees to tear
globs of filth from her mystery’s guard. Beating

down her obsession finally fails. Her quickened heartbeat
can’t be helped for the question forever echoing
in her mind can cease now. The torment! The slow tearing
of her sanity! To end! No one ever thinks of a flower’s
thorns. She wipes the key with her dress’s muddied bow.
Oh, how excitement can bubble and imagination can fly.

Numbed, bloodied, eager fingers find the lock and — flies.
Billions of beady little wings beat,
black bodies swarming the woman who bows
her head in terror. The buzzing echoes,
amplifies off one another, and she almost wishes that flower
were still tucked behind her ear. A tear

slips down her cheek, and she tears
off her bow and lashes at the flies,
a thorn of her own. Not some ghostly flower.
The evils come quickly, beating
her down and some ladies may echo
a hollow plea. But she will not bow.

Bow or tear.
Echo or fly.
Beat or flower?






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