Summer 2003 • Vol. XXV No. 3/4 Poetry |

The Rose

Not so long ago, or was it?—the bud was tightly wound and the edge as hard to start as a roll of cellophane tape.     (though it wasn't up to you or me to start it) Remember how the "dew and velvet" first caught our eye?     how the butter-yellow striations went          into pink, or withdrew from pink? (though it wasn't up to you or me to say which way it was going) The corolla did unfurl. The anther cracked and flew. Each part in fact     played its part, and when we turned away,          it didn't die—of course, or not             because of that. Eventually, it shattered     like any rose, just as roses do:          first the outer            petals, then the inner ones                     that cling a little longer                             to t

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Susan Stewart
Susan Stewart’s most recent book of poems is Red Rover. Last year she published a prose study, The Poet's Freedom: A Notebook on Making. She is currently a Berlin Prize Fellow at the American Academy in Berlin.

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