The Knowledge of Roses

by Kathleen Hellen

The tongue of the lily said, Trespass.
Ravish the hedges like sexual bees.
Tiger the gate.

How could I know then? At seven.
The handfuls I homed were forbidden. The noseful
of roses. The tulips I plucked for cup

and kind. The wink of the susans or
Queen Anne’s lace as lovely as snowflakes but
warm as the sand on a beach. Who had impeached

me? What neighbors complained? What chorus said,
Leave it to garden. To God, Little Eve.

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