There is nothing kind about pretending to love someone
long after you’ve forgotten what their voice sounds like
on sleepy, coffee-scented Sunday mornings.
There is nothing authentic about excuses dripping in guilt.
You know this.
Yet somehow, you’ve decided the rosebush blooming next to your door,
the one that caresses your doorstep with blood-red petals
even when it hurts to let them fall,
“The thorns hurt,” you say, but you haven’t seen the thorns in years.
What really hurts is knowing that you planted the rosebush there –
lifetimes ago, it seems –
but now you can’t bear to look at it
because it reminds you of the time you almost died.