John Armstrong

A Poem
by Gary Michael Dault

A Trajectory of Roses

 The lover, in this case Anna Akhmatova,
queenly Russian poet, gilding, at this time, Paris,

is in love with the lover, Inamorata Amedeo Modigliani,
and in love like that, decides nothing but
roses will do for the dashing boy.

buys a big Russian armload of Paris roses, red,
nd foots them over to Modigiliani’s place
except that, damn, he’s not home.

And yet, with the roses as sublimates of her desire,
And needing to give him the faceted vase of her heart
its floral utterances.

She heaves the whole bouquet of roses
up through the open window
            where presumably (nobody was there to
verify it), they plash on the cool floor

like leaves filling up the boulevards in autumn
(streets of Paris, pray for me)
are still sound (vectorless wind) of colour
breaking on bone-hard planks
            red bleeding petals
            their own stretcher
            lashed to brocken green stems
            and wounded, promiscuous leaves

Modigiliani returns to his pastoralized flat
finds the roses woven on the floor (flowery fragrant leg-trap)
disposed according to the dictates
of Akhmatova’s great iconic heart

What is the use of endless suffering? Of endless love?
            Roses which do not kill us make us stronger.

The rest of this florid epiphany
Involves the smitten (as if roses had struck him)
Modigiliani’s elaborate wonder at the

grace of Akhmaotosva’s hectic act
I just threw them in, said the great poet
            Impossible! They were lying there so beautifully!
said the troubled painter
            Roses arcing in the air
            Arranging themselves
            Imagine it!