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Saving Roses

The roses in my yard grow scarce
before November's pruning. Unlike my mother's
I placed on a shelf months ago--dust-catchers
whose petals fall like days to the floor--these
still hold their fragrance.

I've held onto other roses long
past their purpose--my daughter's
corsage casketed away; a bud
compressed between stained pages;
a yellowed one hanging
bloom down in the pantry. Yet
I tend to forget them;
they, too, gather dust.

* * * * * * * * * * *

Even this late in the season,
in these days that hold back the frost,
I tend the bed against aphids and rust.
Full-scented and heady, some blooms will be left
for their day of grace,

but the roses I cut today
will soon wither on the stone.

February 12, 2002
Still revising

Donna Smith

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