Yellow Roses

For Christmas, I got her
roses. They sit on the dining table,
in their blue vase, lighting up the room.
Yellow, her favourite. A few days earlier, we
fought. As usual, I was mean, unkind;
she was resolute but not unkind,
never unkind. She spoke first, afterwards,
asking me what I would like for lunch,
and then cooking it. Sadness made her
slow, all day, courteous and gentle but
gone to that deep country of the drawn-in
self. I could not

They never tell us about all this: how finding each
other, falling in love, is just the beginning. That love
must be made over and over again, like
our strewn bed, every morning. That there will be times
we will look at each other and wonder what
the hell we are doing here, why the hell
we have wasted so much time when this
is obviously wrong for us. All those wasted
years! And they don’t tell you
about how you will feel when you see the
pain blooming like the world’s most
glorious rose in her eyes because of something
you said, so cruel, something you
could not help saying, something neither of
you will forget.

Or how, seeing her curled on her side,
asleep, her face drawn and older
than you remember, your heart will suddenly clench with
the fear of losing her. This will be a loss that will
nail you forever to grief; a pain like a metal
rod running through
you to the roots of this world. Then you will
hold her tight and love will be
there, amidst all the memories
of all she has been to you
all through the years. And this is

what love is, though they don’t tell you: a fashioning, a forging, a
tempering, a choosing again and again to tell the
hard and shameful truth rather
than the seductive lie. A wandering into
the white lands seeking a peace
and a glory we can only find together. No one has
been there before. In your eyes I see all of
you shining out at me. We must find our
own way home. Through you I forget and
through you remember. We may not make it
through. I knew you before the forgetting. The way lies
through our selves
and through
Alina Rastam is a poet and literature teacher in Malaysia.
To enjoy more of her works, visit https://listeningchildblog.wordpress.com/