October Roses

This time of year, a favorite.
After most flowers, the
chrysanthemums, and all
the roses have been touched
by the coming winter, this
late rose lives and blooms full.

There are two flowers on
the vine, one open wide,
the other a step beyond bud,
petal-fringed the one, tighter,
closed, the other; both lightly
fragrant, the pink flesh, a sun.

I bend to gather that scent
and touch with dry fingertips
the delicate petals. I have made
a wine from these, its taste
evanescent, the power of it
warms me, does this liquor.

Two roses, one a blossom, the other
a bud that glows so bright against
the seasonís dark wood. October
a favorite time, winter distant,
spring and summer far, but these
blooms circle, and return forever.


Steven Fortney


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