Cimarron Review
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Those Petals
Ellen Doré Watson

Your words circle, mine batter. You’ve a ramp, I’ve
no wheels. Every Saturday we walk down a different
bumpy road in the wrong shoes. Sometimes,
just before dinner, the kid who gets the brunt
of our love has to tell us not to bicker. Darling!
Think of all the people with their right hands
chewed off! One says: I can’t get anyone to apply
direct pressure—my friends are so sick of me unhappy
they’ve turned off their machines. Hug me twice,
says another, I never know how long till the next body
I can touch. Then there’s the man who claims he wants steady,
needs steady, but still looks at women as if each one’s a lake
he’s big enough to swallow. How will hunger like that
ever learn three meals a day and use a napkin?
When you bring me Tuesday tenderness, it looks like
one more thing I don’t have time for. Maybe
when it comes to love the happily long-married
are the biggest fools: I’m fervent but off-and-on
about my roses—how many of us are delirious
when the twenty-sixth blossom does its gorgeous thing?
Today, though, I wonder if when I get home those petals
will still be luminous and melting in the dirt. I’m thinking
maybe I need them. I’m saying what would I do
without your mouth?

Cimarron Review
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