“Surrender” by Pat Hanahoe-Dosch

Pat Hanahoe-Dosch


The black teenager raised his arms,
palms wide and flat against the air.
Roses bloomed from his chest, anyway,
petals dripping on the asphalt.
A warm night breeze carried some
of the petals in its breath, scattered them
across stoops and alleyways. Some
were crushed between people’s feet. Some
tapped on windows. Some knocked on doors. Some
rolled into street gutters and wept. Some
were picked up and carried in the palms of children. Those
grew into roses and multiplied. Women, children
teens and men dropped rose petals on streets and lawns
when they knelt and opened their palms wide into the air.
More petals swirled across asphalt in a growing wind.
More petals cloyed the air, but were overcome
by tear gas, bullets, water from hoses,
the stench of gasoline and gunpowder.
It was a summer of wild thorns and perfume.
Roses grew in cracks in asphalt and concrete.
Some leaned against the boy’s gravestone.
Most rotted into compost.
Some of the roses became blood and water.
Some became skin and anger.
Some became pollen on the hind legs of bees.

from Rattle #50, Winter 2015

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Pat Hanahoe-Dosch: “When I turned 30, I sold or gave away most of what I owned, stored my books, car and few other things with a friend, and backpacked all around Southeast Asia. Later, I spent six years teaching for the University of Maryland’s overseas programs on military bases around the world, including Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Bosnia, Turkey, Egypt, Germany, Spain, and Japan, and traveled widely and wildly. All of these experiences have influenced my work.” (website)

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