Into the yellow rose
Perennial, which, in bright expansiveness,
Lays forth its gradual blooming, redolent
Of praises to the never-wintering sun ...
Beatrice led me.
-- Dante Alighieri, Paradiso
To comfort Aunt Bea, I told her
that no man had stolen her rosebush
from its bed outside the window of her home
in Newark, New Jersey, far from the shade cast
by any cathedral, or by the City of Luz.
Engorged by early spring rains, mountain snowmelt
and Shiva's tresses, the Ganges River running nearby
attracted a foraging bear, who swallowed Aunt Bea's bush
and deflowered her bed. It was la Forza del Destino.
So in the darkness of the moonless night,
said amandalos mistook Graham Thomas
adolescent cynoscion. I told auntie this tantric tale
about Old Blacky to allay her fears.
In her youth she had already heard from the earth's ear
not to fall asleep under an almond tree. This mystic
almond of Saint Clement of Alexandria was
an inevitable force of nature, the Ch'ien
the active and passive perfection of heaven and earth
and nothing more.