which signifies joy in the midst of penance
—The Baltimore Catechism
Too weak for blood,
Rose is pale cousin
To red-enough-to-stop-traffic, fire engines,
The apple of your eye. Wrapped in its bud,
Like Gloria Swanson in a turban of sepals,
For that close-up, just the critching shutter
Of blushing time-lapse for The World of Nature.
It's just a fancy word for pink which is
Embarrassment, the tippler's nose, diaper rash,
The hives. Weak suggestion of the heart...
Don't we all want
A big red valentine? Pink is my sister's nightie,
Inside the cat's ear, the stain on my panties,
Spanish wedding night,
Linen back from the wash. Wine for drinkers of beer.
The freezer burnt Neopolitan stripe. What I am not in.
Rose is a Peruvian saint
Who slept with an iron cross. Rose is already risen.
Rose is what his luv is like,
When it's red.
Jamie O’Halloran’s poems appeared most recently in The Honest Ulsterman and Spillway. Her poetry reviews are in or forthcoming in Lit Pub and Tupelo Quarterly. Jamie and her husband live in Connemara in the West of Ireland with one pair each of cats and donkeys.