'The Best Rose Gardens' & 'Took the Spine from Their Quills'

the best rose gardens

i will never invite you again

to the gazebo

of my heart

so stand outside the gate

of my heart

looking mournfully in forever

as my true friends and i

drink champagne from out pretty

flutes glimmering like the wings of glass butterflies who never have

to fear breaking the same way

my heart did when you were in my life,

and i am not sorry for leaving

no amount of apologies will bring me back;

stop hounding my mother because no matter

how many times you whimper and plead

or demand my presence i will not return to you—

you threw me into oblivion's eye

had to claw my way back out into the light

by myself so you don't get to claim

any of my accomplishments as praise

nor compliment i know

you'll play the victim

you always do,

but you were the one that left

our garden of friendship to die;

so i stuck a fork in it and called it done

because i dine on only the best rose gardens

Image: John William Waterhouse - The Soul of the Rose, 1903.

took the spine from their quills

they used to tell me

i was weird

with those smug smirks

curling them into

the victor and me to the victim,

but now i look at them

smirking smugly

insisting that they have no idea;

they think i'm quoting scar

but i'm being honest—

i have wept too many tears

for monsters

so i have decided to be selfish

with my tears

only those i love deserve oceans

and only those i love

deserve my presence

i am so tired of being lonely in crowded rooms

so i avoid them like the plague

because they're the death of me,

and i have died so many times

i want to live a life

that doesn't feel so wretchedly painful;

so i take the spine from their quills

they don't hurt me so bad anymore—

but they don't know

i've done this

so they keep trying to stick it to me

not knowing they'll never wound

because this birds wings will never break again

Linda M. Crate is a Pennsylvanian native born in Pittsburgh yet raised in the rural town of Conneautville. Her poetry, short stories, articles, and reviews have been published in a myriad of magazines both online and in print. She has five published chapbooks A Mermaid Crashing Into Dawn (Fowlpox Press - June 2013), Less Than A Man (The Camel Saloon - January 2014), If Tomorrow Never Comes (Scars Publications, August 2016), My Wings Were Made to Fly (Flutter Press, September 2017), and splintered with terror (Scars Publications, January 2018).