Or if the title doth protest too much:

you, sitting on a bench in a dress,

Holding a red flower in one hand,

Me left wondering.


Behind you the park is spacious and soft

Like a pale green duvet on a clean bed

In an empty house in the country

Where all the windows are wide open.


Between the two of you is the bland

plank of the back of the bench,

the flesh of your upper arm pinched

by the splintered edge, the painted wood

unsympathetic beneath your bones,

straight lines ruled across the possibilities.


You are wondering as well, I think.

Imagining the blood spilt on the green duvet

If you were to.  Wondering what can be taken,

Given, picked and offered without bleeding.

What it would be like if this flower was yours

And you did not have to sit in your dress,


Woman with a Red Zinnia