the perennials were prophetic, but i didn’t listen

the perennials were prophetic, but i didn’t listen

By Caroline Wolff
on a saturday afternoon in march, 
filled with carnival rides and 
hand-holds hidden in sweater sleeves,
we take the long way home
on a train made of sun-soaked white walls
and big windows and
the saccharine scent of creamed coffee. 
my cardigan-clad capricorn 
coming-of-age counterpart,
their eyes are all on you, girl,
and why wouldn’t they?
perhaps it’s the way your hair feathers out and sways 
in galloping gales like stalks of lavender,
or how your skin shines like golden grain—
even in the dark of your bedroom 
when we should be sleeping—
or how your fingers flutter and fold 
as if you can catch the sun 
and hold it in your palm.

and phototropism was never a part of my plan,
but i beg, please save a few rays for me. 
i can’t remember the last time i smiled.

have i ever told you that your eyes 
remind me of the bluebonnets 
that line texas roads?
that your laugh 
is like the tiny daisies that grew 
at the base of my childhood swing set?
we are scavenging for four-leaf clovers 
sprouting up between pieces of gravel,
playful, budding,
saplings in spirit.  

and the next day, we’re planting our seeds in each other.
the smudges of my merlot lipstick match 
the red rose tattoo on your forearm;
our legs intertwined like roots; 
strip each other down to our soil.
your touch is like an april rainshower 
and i want you to water me 
with every last drop.

you aren’t sweet,
not maple,
no syrup, no sugar;
you’re a sycamore.
concealed, outspoken;
you’re worn by age,
but warm like sage;
you left a taste in my mouth
like shameful acts of sin
and second guesses in september,
and I’ll have you know i’m sick of nice.

we shared umbrellas in spring,
secrets in summer,
but it’s autumn now
and every flower has to die. 

my sisters taught me
that my petals are precious,
that wandering hands have no business
stirring up my pollen,
and yet i’ve found myself
pulled from the ground,
pressed flat, seeds scattered, 
and my leaves cut,
and i’m sitting cross-legged 
and wilted on my bathroom floor,
picking your thorns out my skin one by one,
bleeding blossoms 
that turn into bandages,
pretty plumes of pale petunia 
to cover my unsightly wounds. 

and still, i cannot imagine a life 
in which i am not blooming 
for you. 

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