By Bo Sirant, 2012 She said her love was like a “red, red rose” so she gave me a trinity of long-legged roses for Saint Valentine’s Day One for our love yesterday one for our love today and one for our love tomorrow and the hope for a life together free of regret and sorrow The thorny trio have stood proudly in a cut crystal vase she brought from Ireland unfurling and disrobing a little each day and dropping petals like Salome’s veils revealing their velvety nakedness within Every morning I have admired them and their delicate ruby skins and wondered as they began to wither: How red were my roses? Not red like the carmine of Stalin’s crimes nor the Vatican red of a cardinal’s cape nor the Coca-Cola red of Santa Claus nor the bloody vermillion of wicked war rape nor the cadmium red of Satan’s claws nor the scarlet of a defrocked pederast’s shame nor the Manhattan red of Wall Street outlaws nor the carnal red of Mystery the Mother of Harlots’ ignoble name nor the incandescent red of evil victory won by pawns who play the vicious game But crimson as the wounded warrior’s streaming blessed blood crimson as was Christ’s on the day he was scourged, crowned with thorns, and crucified and as they wilt maroon like smothered martyr’s cries heard echoing over tyrants’ blustering lies That’s how red they were

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