Blush remains but the flesh
pinks less and less and the laughter dims
from a clear bell to
a rustling thing.
The smell of catalpa, but two days too late,
when the white crinkles brown at the edge, and the
violet streaks have gone and
like the spent blossoms
to their invisible suitors,
she no longer wants to love you.
She does it like pressing thumbnail
into callus, like clipping your fingernails
too close, like eating pizza
you damn well know
is too hot. It is the strands of gum flesh
she tongues from the blister.
She always wants to make it
a flower, but it is the inevitable
zinnias on the compost heap, after
the first bouquet ever
more abundant than
the farmer’s market’s spoils.
A bloom, yes, but etiolate;
she loves you, but no longer wants to.