Red Light Roses

By JILL MCDONOUGH

Josey picks me up at work in a car we bought
together, car she dug out of frozen slush for hours.
She picks me up and gives me roses. Valentine’s Day.
Usually we just turn up the heat, one day each winter
we don’t need PolarFleece and UGGs inside our house:
75 degrees, old movies, tenderloin, champagne.
Roses on the end table, then on the dresser
so I can see them when I fall asleep, again when I
wake up. From now on I’m buying red light roses,
maybe a whole bucket full some time I’m feeling flush.
They make the bucket guy so happy, it feels so good
to rose drive-thru. The red light roses, like scratch tickets,
help the local economy, do hardly any harm. Red light
roses smell like roses. Red light roses come with baby’s
breath. Red light roses come to you, make you happy you
hit a red light, make you wish you had more time just
joshing with the guy. Red light roses last for days.
They last for weeks if you don’t mind them dead.

 

Jill McDonough’s books of poems include Habeas CorpusWhere You Live, and Reaper. The recipient of three Pushcart Prizes and fellowships from the Lannan Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York Public Library, the Fine Arts Work Center, and Stanford, her work appears in The Threepenny Review andBest American Poetry. She teaches in the MFA program at UMass Boston and directs 24PearlStreet, the Fine Arts Work Center online. Her fifth poetry collection, Here All Night, is forthcoming from Alice James Books.

[Purchase Issue 16 here]

Red Light Roses

Related Posts

Image of almonds pouring from a glass bowl.

Reina María Rodríguez: Poems in Translation

REINA MARÍA RODRÍGUEZ
Naturally, Flaubert’s parrot / could not be called Chucho, / his author wouldn’t stick him / with a name like that. / From which follows the importance of names. / But in the stories last night / —the reconstruction of a postcard / which we were creating...

Image of hill, river, and houses.

Joss

PATRICIA LIU
Paper is thin. In the beginning, still billows in the wind, still petal-like, still grounded in this world / of living. The incense is the only material that translates the viscera to mist. Early, the fog has not yet / lifted, and we move through the white drip as if through total darkness. Fish lost in the deep under- / water.

poetry feature image

March 2021 Poetry Feature: Sylvie Durbec

SYLVIE DURBEC
I still don’t know how to type a tilde on a computer keyboard / when writing the name of a Spanish or Portuguese writer I love. / Nor do I know what poetry is. / I don’t know whether we need it. Or not. / And what we really need here. / Elsewhere, water, bread, milk.