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  • Sarah Donkin

The Rose

I wish I knew how to stop my hands from shaking

when I hold a delicate rose that anyone

could crush. He


reached for it, and I wanted to tell him

this blossom belongs to me but

I only pretended not to see him reaching. Even though his fingers drum


on the desk,

I am twice as impatient. For him, the red will fade and

the petals will become


like brown scales on

a thorny stalk. I am not

handing out numbers written on leaves that


people tear from the stem; these thorns

will not tattoo your name on

my wrist. Let go of


the open book you hold;

only I will choose how to

press and preserve

my flower.


I crush the rose in my hand

and smile as the thorns draw the second blood.

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