A red rose,
on the sidewalk,
ground further into the cement with every step passersby pad.
The pigment bleeds into the cracks of the sidewalk
like blood from a scraped knee.
The police officers, mothers, and doctors trample it.
Like hounds on a hunt, they hurry onwards.
Not one has stopped
to peer into its veins—
veins pressed down into the ground.
The pedestrians paint the tapestry of veins
all over the sidewalk
as they focus on the path ahead,
never pausing to look down.
The whirring cars play the rose’s final requiem,
and each car cradles a different person
who doesn’t care about
the caged canaries
clamoring inside the person in the car ahead of them.
They only drive to get to home or school or work,
each bolting by another driver with a unique, unprecedented life,
each feeling the gas pedal under their feet.
Somewhere, someone cultivated
that rose in a greenhouse,
the sun melting their shoulders.
Someone picked that rose among others,
thorns pressing into their fingers and drawing blood.
And somewhere, someone delivered that rose
safely to a grocery store,
hearing the plastic wrapping surrounding the bouquets
crunch when they hastened to press the brake.
bought that rose
at a Food Lion.
He gave it to his own rose
and she tossed it on the ground,
the crimson petals sleeping on the tan cement.
It lays in its chilled, cement coffin,
forgotten like the poor and discouraged citizens of this world
who sob for our attention.
They choke under the
of incessant callous culprits.
Daily the veins of God’s forgotten children
spread into the sidewalk
and we contribute to
our mini van windows
to drown out their cries for help.