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57| Pressing Love

Bonnie S. Kaplan


Being your slave, what should I do but tend
upon the hours and times of your desire?
-Sonnet 57

Roses, not my favorite flower,
defensive, narcissistic —
to them no other flower exists.
Thoughts of naked buds
and oversize blooms
preoccupy their beds.

And yet I cultivate Yves Piaget
and Marilyn Monroe,
Purple Tiger, Brass Band,
Moonstone and April in Paris.
From undergrowth to blossom,
I examine every cane and leaf
for signs of stress and unwanted visitors.

No other species commands
such fealty — sweating, on my knees,
arms stung with thorns,
face burnt from the sun.
Till the gnoman leaves no shadow,
I can’t stop tending the long
days of their desire.

Bonnie S. Kaplan is a native Angeleno and a longtime teacher of adults in the California corrections system. She holds an MFA in Performance Art from the California College of Arts and Crafts. Her poems are published in The Squaw Valley Review Poetry Anthology 2011, Adrienne Rich: A Tribute Anthology (Split Oak Press, 2012), and This Assignment is So Gay: LGBTIQ Poets on the Art of Teaching (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2013).

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