The Rose 

The late sidelong light’s red-gold
on the walls, on the tall dry grass,

on the moon’s face low and immense
across the expanse, in the distant

sky trapped in that fire-lit shallow
creek, its mirrored streaks of cloud…

not many breaths of this, not many
heartbeats, and what will keep

in memory still less, so it seems,
so it is, that between pulses,

between blinks, perception’s presence
opens, as if it knows, and lets

in as through parted lips the instant’s
sweet and coppery tincture. Even

though it is brief as the moment before
getting back in the car for the droning

hours over the mountains, even
though it is years you might bear

your marrow under the stars, now
you’ve tasted the light of the flower,

the rose whose petals, you know,
you and all these things are. 

[“The Rose” first appeared in The Midwest Quarterly.]