Gillian Osborne
Poem With Oratory and Roses

              Unlike a catastrophe, a rose—
              its ahistorical petals—

              not an interruption in an office
              where a woman is making notes
              toward the smell of onions by an open window
              where another woman is making
              space apart from anguish or family
              for anticipation, or humidity.
                                                                A rose grows.




              1.

              Between seer and seen
                            anthropologist and hunter
                            giver and the given

              a blob of emollient color




              5.

              The petals of the family
              are irregular in number




              2.

              A rose referring to other roses
                            More often than not
              Feminized and prickling

                                          As a lover references the hunt of bodies for a body

              Giving in or changing
              If a rose refers to loving

              opening, suspended in the interrupting dash




              Dear one, dearest –

                            Taking this second to tell you how suspicious I am
                            of rhetoric, promises, compromises, or the symphonic ending.

                            Ditto narrative, that says it goes
                            and goes. A rose, a pause in the pattern of forgetting.



                                          Some time later, a gentle interruption
                                          in the inorganic order of the poem

                                                               dipping into the platonic

                                          That we cannot accept a world of forms is obvious
                                          It would be all spheres there and god, deigning
                                          But if there were a world of pure formalness
                                          It would be
                                                               siphoned from longing
                                                               all surface, which is suggestion
                                                               which is action towards
                                                               a forming absence
                                          which makes us duplicate
                                          radiating loneliness

                                                               ordered and erotic—




                            When I left
                            I left you

                            a rose
                            in the space of a body

                            pink as a finger
                            gentle as a slipper

                            though by now
                            you should know
                                                                                    roses are also
                                                                                    lonely glories

                                                                                    And loneliness refrains.


Gillian Osborne is a writer, educator, and aspirational gardener based in California. She has published poems, essays, and reviews, and is the co-editor of a collection of scholarship on ecopoetics. She is at work on several books, including an account of ornamental gardening in times of environmental disaster.