The smell of old-fashioned
rose bushes
always does me in—
thick, complicated,
a tapestry for your nose.
They overflow any vase
in their bounteous imperfection,
nothing like the hothouse buds
that look perfect
smell like nothing
but an imitation
of the real thing.  

I cried last year
when we had to trim  
the bushes back
fearing the loss
would be permanent,
but they returned
stronger than ever,
as my husband
assured me they would.
This is love, I tell him,
when I breathe in
this year’s cutting.
Yes, he says,
as he sucks on
his thorn-bloodied finger.