Hard times relieve the roses of technique,
unmingle their sources,
call out to pre-graft roots.
New canes wind and sprawl
under the open candelabra
of hybrid branches
pruned by the book.
Throwback canes sprout floribunda bouquets,
medieval canes ridiculously thick with thorns,
a flashback of petals lying flat and single,
no Fibonacci array of petals
surging clockwise, then counter,
A continuity of roses,
Before Homer, before history.
Petals darker than royal blood,
always the same deep red,
no matter how the plant was remade
Fed up with all that inbreeding,
revealed as Rosewood.
A rose is rosy as a rose.
Before there were words, there were roses.
Karen Greenbaum-Maya, retired clinical psychologist, German Lit major, and Pushcart nominee, no longer lives for Art, but still thinks about it a lot. She has lived in Claremont for 30 years, during which time her camellias’ blooming has moved up six weeks, and squirrels have moved in, reliably eating all the apricots and peaches. Her poem “Real Poem” received Honorable Mention in the 2013 Muriel Craft Bailey Memorial Contest. Kattywompus Press published her chapbooks Burrowing Song and Eggs Satori. Links to on-line poems at www.cloudslikemountains.blogspot.com/ and to on-line photos at www.flickr.com/photos/pieplate/