The Last Rose of Summer by Russell Bittner

I droop, then drop my petals one by one
in penitence for having loved the sun.
“Too much," you say? That's just a damned cliché -
like whacks your children give you when you stray.

But first things first. This bloom must try to cope
with upstart petals clinging to the hope
I'll spot in them some crummy little thing
that might induce a cuckoo clock to sing

by hunkering down with thorns to get a fix
on those who mark their prominence in pricks
and would reduce me in their mindless rage
to kindling - unheard of in an age

when fires are a dread domestic chore
that even middling dunderheads abhor.
And Love-lies-bleeding? Just some lame excuse
for silt to bed a flower on the loose.

You could've plucked me in my gravid prime,
but let me go to seed upon the vine
like some ill-gotten gain, some stolen kiss
that aphids run amok a fect to miss.

So now, before I ask, like Salomé,
of Herod, for Herodias, a tray
to o fer up my pistil to the sun,
I'll shed for you my petals, one by one.

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