leave the white roses be

By Grace Zimmerman


paint the white roses red,
heat the concrete steps with strong thighs,
strip the trees of their bark and look inside
make the boys sit and the girls stand
take the wasted green from the fallen leaves and
spread it evenly on the dead grass
lead the elephant up my toes over my hips to my chest
sit him on the butterflies lifting up and down.
suck my air away.
tell the girl you love you’re gone
leave his softest sweater folded on the lawn,
light the pine scented candles in july
cover the closet with christmas lights to
forget his clothes were ever there.
stop calling him.
toss the sunflowers rotting in their vase,
wreck the old road trip car
sell the parts to buy a bike
lose the bike to sticky fingers and an old cable lock.
walk to work.
scream that life has tainted it all and
let the rest spoil out of spite
cover your ears till your brother shuts up shuts up shuts the fuck up,
fight with the mother about fighting for fighting’s sake
scrape the last of your savings together to buy a dog,
give the dog away after a week
buy a fish.
touch your lips to the bodies of strangers
break every rule your father ever set
dye your hair to match your mother’s potting soil
knock down a wall in your bedroom with fists
get kicked out.
join a gym and take up swimming.
run until 10k feels like a stroll through central park.
move back in with your college roommate
backpack through bali to feel sunshine
buy new clothes for a job you already hate
let your hair fade back to red
meet a nice boy and teach him fear.

leave the white roses be.