Red rose with drops of water in park


He will not let her into the yard

so she finds a knothole in the fence,

a brown-edged telescope, peers inside:

Love-Lies-Bleeding from its flocked, feathery

fingers, its red tails, the trails of broken hearts.

Amaranthus caudatus, a tassel flower,

if one had a green thumb, read a guidebook.

Naturally commitment-phobic,

Love-Lies-Bleeding is an annual that could decide

to return to terrain that welcomes, to hosts

that are hospitable. Again, consult the guidebook,

these are not coincidences, but horticulture.

Love-Lies-Bleeding bleeds best planted in poor soil.

Some like a challenge, some people think they can

change science and nature. Remove the seeds

before they spill to the ground, the manuals advise.

Love will spill to the ground, its blood stain growing

and growing, bleeding, beating and waiting.

Love-Lies-Bleeding, she sees this through

the fence hole, and in this way, she knows

he will let himself to be cherished.


Poem by Jessica Gregg

Jessica Gregg is the author of “News from This Lonesome City,” a poetry chapbook, and a former writer-in-residence with Baltimore’s Yellow Arrow Publishing.