November Rose in Pittsburgh

In the tiny front yard
at the house
of a neighbor dead three years,
flowers are left uncared for.

Yet they have been faithful to their yearly blooming.
White iris, pink azalea, yellow rose
have taken steadfast turns
each spring and summer.

Today, in late November,
I pause to see a rose in bloom.

It whispers someone loved the soil here,
once cared for roots and stems so thoroughly
they persist even in neglect,
while temperatures,


Once it was afternoon, and the winter
was beginning, as was rain outside
the window, cold as politics,
the chosen world tired of its election.

The lamp beside me was warm,
but I left it to rise and go
to the kitchen doorway where
an angel stood watching me.

I put my hands up to her face
and held it while she drew back
her sword, knowing who I am.
But then I let my faith vanish.

I walked right through her
to the other room to pick up
my pen, my own harmless sword.
She told me write this down.