Black Roses

None. Only burgundy or violet,
scene you never imagine,
fields burning with larvicide.

Black Magic, Lavaglut,
Ruby Celebration,
holy grail
of botany furled like ironwork.

Not even carnations
split along their stems
to drink the florist’s dye

approach the order of the rose.
Some say petals scorch
easily, the symbol turned

Vampiric: floribundas
staked from Syria to parlors
of the Art Nouveau.

Always a rose entwined
with rose, given in ardor
or vengeance. Kiss-of-death.

Blood-of-martyrs. Novel.
Noir. Baccara, Barkarole.
Black rose dried in vellum,

black rose frosted in nitrogen,
black rose tattooed, genus
prized for being almost true.

Essence of dream. Apothecary.
How I loved you, whittling
thorns, loved you not.

© Karen Rigby, Chinoiserie (Ahsahta Press, 2012)