VOL        

        UME




 

Roses
Kelly Zanotti



*
Roseheads like
hearts poached in milk

*
So moon white,
blinding as the scent of him

*
Four days pricking me
occasionally away from it

*
The crying
because

*
This rose
looks too much like a heart

*
Because
the bread in the oven

*
Will be fed
to no one

*
And there is meaning
in this

*
Here it is:
my grandmother is dying

*
And I have become obsessed
with roses

*
With bread
and the smell of him

*
Its mystic cling
on my cushions

*
Meanwhile, I have two loaves of bread proofing
and no children to hand buttered slices

*
I rip apart the caramel crust
like a tear

*
Prick my finger
on its perfected ear

*
Time fallen
to a rhythm synced

*
With the bubbling effervescence of yeast,
its bubbling night breath

*
I wake at 4 AM
and bake bread

*
I wake at 2 PM
and bake bread

*
I leave a party early
to go home and bake bread

*
The rising perfume like
his steadfast cologne

*
Like wanting to pot a rose
in the corner of my living room

*
Wanting its perfume to mix
with the yeast coating everything

*
In my grandma’s childhood,
the milk she had, the bread

*
My grandmother cannot eat
and bread

*
Has become the only thing
I can

*
I make my bread chewier
and tangier, I want more lift

*
In the crumb,
I want the height of roses

*
Reaching for light,
desperate through the window

*
My grandmother is dying and
doesn’t want me to see her

*
Like this:
the only thing left of her

*
Hands

*
The last time I saw her, hands
clutching me like a long sob, hands

*
Signing fear into my back,
speaking wordlessly as we always have

*
That this may be the last time

*
And I know so little
of roses

*
Keep awake for days, leaf frantic
through garden guides

*
Until the spell breaks,
hit with another whiff of his cologne

*
I try to hold it

*
As tightly as my grandmother
has always held

*
Try to sleep into it

*
His cologne a profusion of blooms,
perfume so unlike a rose

*
Except for its linger
and thorn

*
What a skill, grief.
I palm it into dough

*
Palm it into his palm
four days ago I took in my hand

*
Traced with my finger,
professed I could read

*
His palm taking my palm,
shyer in its knead

*
So much of us
lives on our hands

*
It could be any hand,
The cologne any cologne

*
But it’s hand enough
for now, I stretch

*
Against it like it’s the only
golden beam

*
The only oven heat

*
Strange the things grief makes
you braid

*
Flavored loaves, stems
through a granddaughter’s hair

*
The roses my grandmother kept,
yellow pillows of butter

*
The only flower she knew
how to raise

*
Was a rose,
was, perhaps, me

*
Shaping loaves
into unfolding roses

*
Crumb rising like lungs

Kelly Zanotti received her MFA from Hollins University. Her work has appeared in River Teeth, the Virginia Literary Review, the Hollins Critic, and elsewhere. She has been longlisted for the AWP Intro Journals Prize and the Poetry Society’s National Poetry Competition. She lives and writes in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Roanoke, Virginia.
Mark
©2021 Volume Poetry
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©2020 Volume Poetry
Subscribe to our newsletter.
Follow us on instagram.
Submit to our next issue:
submissions@volumepoetry.com
Site design by Nick Fogarty