To Kiss the Red Rose Goodbye

a free verse poem
by Jess

This bush once held a flower,

a beautiful red rose

with petals in full bloom,

soft to the touch

with a fragrance so sweet.

I spent my summer nursing this fragile rose,

I spent my birthday at its side.

I watered it daily, feeding its precious roots,

and I snipped the weeds

that threatened suffocation.

I kept my rose safe and sound.

Then one day in late fall

in the chill of a pre-winter breeze,

my precious little rose lost its softness,

turning rough and dry.

The sweetness of its air

turned bitter with its death.

Its gleaming red glow

that was once my beacon of hope

turned black and brown,

and its pathetic little petals

hit the cold, hard ground —

decaying slowly.

I had a hard time understanding the ways.

One day my rose was beautiful and lively,

my symbol of comfort and love.

But come the day’s tomorrow,

and my precious flower lay

dead on the ground.

I was terrified the bush might die too,

and slip from my hands like my sweet, late rose.

My heart longed for that blossom of love red to return,

so I grabbed hold of the bush,

despite the pricks and stabs

and the thorns burrowing into my palm.

I ignored the blood,

hushed the pain,

tightened my grip come each and every day

in a blind, hopeful state.

But this bush refused to regrow a rose.

The thorn bush in which I’d invested so much time

did nothing but make me bleed,

and oh god did I cry.

Still I held on for a year.

A year of pain, a year of fear,

a year that drowned in dismal tears.

But still, through the suffering and constant ache,

I held on for dear life,

desperate for my rose to come back home.

Last night I let go of the bush

and looked down at my hands.

They were beaten and battered,

ripped open and torn,

spotted with woeful cuts and nostalgic scars

and all at the hand of the martyrdom

of my own naive heart.

I could finally see

that this bush offered nothing to me,

nothing but pain and promises grown barren.

I finally accepted that my rose was gone.

I stood up on my feet,

brushed off my knees,

cleaned up my hands

and plucked out those thorns.

I cut down that bush for good,

used its branches for firewood.

Today, I stand in the winter sun

and plant a seed

where my rose used to be.

Jess is a senior.  She says, “I’ve been writing since second grade, but I never truly realized how much of a writer I could be until now.”


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