A Girl named Rose

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A Poem by Josie E. Cook M. A.
” A prose poem of love…realization. ”

A Girl named Rose

The young woman called Rose
misses the crisp autumn in her hometown,
With many amazing sunsets against the forest trees,
She often sat on the top of her building
Watching those same trees with her early morning coffee,
This October is bringing out the Halloween sprites, ghosts,
And a variety of candy in the local stores,
She has visited the Nevada desert several times
In her travels,
Watching the peculiar animals living there,
Noting the absence of trees,
Her campsite always smelling of simmering beans
and dying wood,
Her merry band of waifs and adventure seekers
Filling the circle around the warming flames
As they talked about their dreams and lost hope.
Billy, her steady travel partner,
The creative one, so imaginative and funny,
Keeping her going and sometimes grounded too
Long in the same spot,
They were high most of the time when they could
Afford to buy or someone was sharing it,
One morning, Rose found Billy’s tattered sleeping bag
Empty,
She started dreaming of visiting Mississippi,
As she watched another sunrise
Alone and feeling lost,
Sometimes she thinks she smells bacon
Frying in the morning, before she rises,
But it is only the smell of beans lingering
Rose desires to taste her mom’s
Cooking again,
Her group leader decides to take
Them to Colorado instead,
Some weary participants
depart for San Francisco leaving
Early before Rose is packed up for departure,
So early, they can see the fog in the distance
Before the sun burns it off,
Her memories come back like a flowing
Stream,
Rose wants to see her home place soon,
Where the KKK had a history and civil rights
Brought so much drama,
She buys a bus ticket with her last coins
and few dollar bills, hide in her pack’s lining.
As Rose sits down in the back of the crowded bus,
She sees two pregnant girls sharing a bag
Of powdered doughnuts and giggling,
Her stomach growls loudly and she coughs,
They turn to stare her way,
Rose turns to the window and watches
Half-naked children play in a big mud puddle
Outside a rundown apartment building,
She never dreamed of having babies or a family,
Her mom passed on her dreams to Rose
As she rocked her in the mornings.
Back in her old town,
Rose seeks her own room,
A room she knows her aunt
Has waiting for her return,
She thinks about how her only aunt
Brought her soup in bed and checked her forehead
When she was too ill to attend school,
Some prissy lady passes Rose on the sidewalk
And Rose does not miss the look in her eyes
As she goes by,
So, condemning and hateful,
Rose wonders if she smells bad or if it is her
Ratty hair and soiled clothing that brings this on,
She has bathed in gas station restrooms and begged
For rides on this trip to reach home,
Rose reaches her favorite tree before her home,
Inside a park near it,
She stops to visit and sits at the base of it,
Enjoys the shade it brings and gentle breeze
Coming from the moving river,
Her mind empties and she closes her eyes,
Rose is weary and frightened at the same time,
Sleep comes,
She remembers overhearing grown ups
Talk at the kitchen table about the floods
Of the 1920’s,
Babies crying in the background,
Rose thinks about mothers and daughters,
Their similar ways and mannerisms,
She remembers that she hasn’t visited
New Orleans yet,
The river was always a boundary for her own
Mother,
One created by a man in her life,
A river can sweep up everything in its path
Like a man,
Your destiny becomes someone else’s
Leaving behind your dreams,
Decisions made by someone else
Crushed options and plans abandoned
As the path changes,
Rose wants the bad involvements to go away,
Her destiny feels not as hers,
She falls to sleep recalling
Her own plans,
She wants to figure it all out on her own,
A smile touches her sleeping features
As a shadow moves over her form.
A familiar young man gently picks her up
And he gathers her close,
Carrying a sleeping and exhausted Rose
To her home.
She wakes up in her room
Surrounded by her aunt and her family,
And it all comes back to her,
As Emily, her younger sister pats her hand
And starts introducing her to
The strong man that delivered her to them
A man, from her past, her first love,
And her destiny.
Rose has been dreaming of this day,
But she never believed it would be true
In real life,
Tears fill her big green eyes,
And she sits up to hug him to her,
He whispers in her ear,
“What took you so long?”
She says, “I wanted to explore the world
Around me, before I landed.”
“You were always so much like a Monarch
Butterfly seeking its destiny.”
He tells Rose this, as he kisses her cheek
And considers her wet eyes.

–J. E. Cook ©2017

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