Last rose of autumn,
Poised, self-assured, demanding my attention;
October’s glisten bolsters you,
Readies you for what must come.
Final crimson-tipped cream, satiny-smooth,
Regal semi-gloss realization of all we hold dear,
Standing tall where once, in earlier times,
Your sisters begged for fleeting glance or passing touch.
Scant blend of pastel, subtle-rounded glory passing once
Before our doubting eyes; forcing us to behold—one last time
Daring us to futilely search for peers of beauty.
Darker edges frame you— I’m complete with or without you,
Mocking me... why didn’t I notice you sooner?
You’ll leave me or I’ll leave you, sure as snow will cover us.
Daring me to pick your bloom, forcing me to settle
For one last breath of scented glory,
One last look at ruby-glittered perfection,
A final feathery-soft touch before you go.
I’ll not touch you now, nor impudently sully your grace,
No hand but mine has come so close, no eye yet witnessed—
So forever shall you persevere in my heart,
Unblemished, unstained, complete.
Bob Church © 10/4/03