Anniversary Roses

They’ll fade soon, vigor
deserting them one at a time

for a hereafter of charred red.
A few more days of this purchased

life, then their frail necks
will collapse and we’ll gather

the petals in a bowl. Even today,
bright with survival, certain petals

are ridged with dark and one stem
has begun a soft tilt. For now, they strain

below for water and above for sunlight,
their undersides lit with brief flame.

(originally appeared in The 2River View)