The yellow rose smells like peach brandy.
She holds her gold cup to the sun, she shows him
her innermost sex, indelible smudge of burnt-orange pollen,
nothing to hide.
Bud or ripe bloom, leaves rust
on one side, green another,
gray thorns tipped with light. Even chewed or tattered
a bit by wind and insect, there is nothing
that is not perfect. A gray cat
and a black cat stalk each other
on the grass, pretending to be enemies,
and birds drill the air with sound, intent
on their own messages. Each thing is saying
exactly what it means — what is it?
If I were not so stupid
from trying to be good I would hear
what they know. As when the fullblown petals
begin to curl, brown with lived beauty,
they just drop,
never having learned shame,
on the first sprouts of clover, poking
up around the tough gray roots.