Cityscape with Pink Rose
He stops at the flower lady's cart
to see if she has roses. There are a few,
with struggling leaves, but the blooms
are decent still, especially those in pink.
She interrupts her desultory lunch,
brushing crumbs from her sleeve, to slip
a long-stemmed pink from among the buds,
carries it to her work table, and deftly wraps
the stalk in a yellow paper, tying it,
gentle-fingered, with a thin red ribbon.
He watches her face; it is not unlike that
of the woman he loves, but it seems closed.
She has dwelt upon disappointments.
As he turns away, he sees in his mind's
eye, himself turning back to buy for her
one of her own roses, or bloom of her choice.
Idiotic! Blooms she has, and no doubt
must throw away many; wouldn't she
be sick, by now, of flowers?
Trading, as she does, in these symbols
of the happiness of others, what would be
happiness to her, here, today? He catches
her looking at him warily; now,
as if to say: is there some problem with
the rose? No. Or, rather, yes. Or no. He stands,
shifting weight self-consciously from foot to foot,
trapped in the mystery of unshareable joy.