Sleeping Beauty

Only one person is allowed to give her
red roses.
The sign was pushed into the
damp concrete,
flush with the pause wall
between stops,
no. And more,
a refusal to be drawn,
photographed, described,
or known.
Gathering the harvest,
a well-being choice
draws the thorne from her finger
and in the spill of fresh blood
she wakes
to moon day repetition
and the tickle of scorched leaves
in her nostrils.
Will she thank you (will she?)
when you rouse her from
her smiley-faced dream
when she sees the years
reflected in the mirror,
will she sigh and turn
her face to her pillow,
interlocking eyelashes bearing her
down into remembered darkness,
or will she (won't she?)
smear age with a potion
to deny the offense against memory
one more day, one hour, one minute,
or will she (won't she?)
mark the choice in her blood
to staunch the wound
and dance from exhaustion
to crawling upstairs in tears,
pleading the angels for mercy
so she can somehow keep on
climbing, her knees torn by
fibers woven from two red roses.

Copyright 2001 by Karen Thompson

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