Ode to Rose Hips

by Deborah Purdy

Because you remain —
A handful of rose hips speckling
my desk like slips of paper
next to other scraps
and segments —

Now like crumpled keepsakes,
you were plucked from a shrub
when we stopped to admire the carousel
as we walked along the Potomac River
one airless June afternoon.

Later that day, I held you in my hand
like fresh scarlet berries, inside the Gaylord,
where in the cool air captive birds,
errant like loose longings,
rose to the sky in the nineteen-story atrium.

In that false world of gardens
and streams sunset was magnified.
The birds steered toward the sky as if
endeavoring to ascend with the planes
on the other side of the glass.

Now, on the other side, a few years later,
you are here. I don’t know what happened
to the birds, but you are here, a little wrinkled
and dim, paper-skinned and lightweight
in my hand, where we are all inside.

Deborah Purdy lives outside Philadelphia where she writes poetry and creates fiber art. Her work has appeared in Gravel Literary Magazine, Cleaver Magazine, The American Poetry Journal, and other publications. Illustration by V.R. Ragesh, who is a noted cartoonist from Kerala.