Layers of pink petals stack together like a miniature cake,
Each inner layer higher than the last.
The delicacy of the rose feeds my hungry soul.
These sturdy flowers have outlasted the asters, mums, and sugar maples.
Their ruddy and fuchsia complexions
Warm my heart as I run in November.
Even as November ends, roses remain.
Small pink petals sleepily open
And bid me hello.
Their life force invigorates mine.
Even as the frost of masks
And the chill of fasting from humanity
Sets into my pandemic body.
Like a sunbeam on a cold morning
That caresses my face,
The roses touch my frozen parts.
I spring to life.
My heart beats loudly in my chest.
My senses sharpen.
At home, everything feeds me.
The flicker of candles as we eat by their light.
The hard press of a fork as I wash it.
The smell of Isa Chandra’s chili simmering on the stove.
The gift of friendship that unfolds in my life like a rose.
Pandemic years tick by
As hours on the trail with friends lengthen.
Matthew and I dive deep into Terraforming Mars, Seasons, Wingspan,
Cascadia, Everdell, and Splendor as friendships strengthen.
Conversations sleepily blossom over the years
Until my friends and I lay open our souls like roses.
We smell the sweet scent. We see the wind-blown realities.
We feel the prick of thorns and witness seasons unfold.
On November 29, a cold wind blows over me on a morning walk.
I pull my hood close and huddle into the warmth of my coat.
Still, a single bud remains on its bush
Like my friendships amidst the winters of quarantine.
Both reach my heart
And render me