I rescue blood roses, so ripe they burst
over their thorns like these women
heat up the house. Blowsy daughters,
sisters — too much inside our skins.
Deep in my clavicle I know we are having
this kind of summer. Waiting too hard
for rain. When it comes, throwing ourselves
at it, no umbrellas, all downspouts, loosening
staves on the barrels. Reassured by abandon.
Gorging on blossoms. Garden, flooded.
Already, roses are losing petals, dripping
on the worn table. Outside, rain keeps at it.
My sisters are carting in crates of greens,
stripping peas, cradling eggs, calling the dogs.
Daughters are seeping into their greenness,
slipping past bedclothes, beyond constraint.
Here, the scent of roses so strong, I feel
my grandmother with her bible, come back
home in this kitchen. What glory in her eyes
when all I can see is debauchery,
just the slightest hold on decorum.
Ellen Stone teaches at Community High School in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Her poetry collection, The Solid Living World, won the 2013 Michigan Writers Cooperative Press chapbook contest. Ellen’s poems have also appeared in Dunes Review, Melancholy Hyperbole and in the anthology, Uncommon Core, published by Red Beard Press.