Where only my scar line remains, a red rose blooms.
Luscious, full, so open that if it dropped a single petal,
it would not be as lovely as it is this very moment.
My eyes watch through the rose’s flaming center,
crimson, as if through a hundred desiring eyes—
till the world prisms: quartz pink, blush, vermillion.
Where my right breast remains, a white rose grows.
Satin, milk-soaked lace, a newborn ewe’s plush.
Opening like something too pure to be touched,
but eager to be touched, soft as talcum to the finger.
An infant could linger at its billowing petals.
All cries would be stilled at that sugared font.
In my sternum grows the most precious rose of all—
the gold rose, not plucked in any human garden.
It spreads celestial petals in the chambers of my heart,
gold touching every dark cell of my body with love.
Lay your hands on my chest—here, I give it to you.
Feel your palm on my skin heat and spark.
The Image archive is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.