This Page Ripped Out and Rolled into a Ball

· Poems · ,

by Brendan Constantine


A rose by any other name     could be Miguel     or Tiffany     Could be

David or Vashti     Why not Aya      which means beautiful flower    but

also verse and miracle     and a bird     that flies away quickly    You see

where this is going       That is     you could look at a rose      and call it

You See Where This Is Going     or I Knew This Would Happen     or even

Why Wasn’t I Told      I’m told of a man      who does portraits for money

on the beach      He paints them with one arm     the other he left behind

in a war      and so he tucks a rose into his cuff      always yellow     and people

stare at it      pinned to his shoulder      while he works      Call the rose

Panos       because I think that’s his name      or call it      A Chair By The Sea

Point from the window     to the garden     and say    Look a bed

of Painter’s Hands     And this is a good place     to remember the rose

already has many names     because     language is old and can’t agree

with itself      In Albania you say Trëndafil      In Somalia say Kacay

In American poetry      it’s the flower you must never name     And now

you see where this is going      out the window      across water

to a rose shaped island      that can’t exist      but you’re counting on

to be there     unmapped       unmentioned till now     The green place

you imagine hiding      when the world finds out     you’re not

who you’ve said


Copyright © 2018 by Brendan Constantine. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on January 25, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.

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