The Rosebud

Poem by Jason Fisk


I hadn’t seen you
since the day you told
me you were pregnant,
in that café. It was
a September day,
filled with a cold fall rain.
I remember thinking
that I could smell the rain
on people as they passed our table.
There was an unopened
rosebud in a simple
glass vase on our table.
What am I going to do?
you asked
over and over.

Today we stood in the aisle
between the cards
and the candles
at Target, small talk
our armor. I looked
at your empty belly.
You pulled your jacket closed.
“Well, it sure is good to see you.
We’ll have to get together sometime,”
you lied. I wanted to tell you
that I had learned
in a poem
that the Japanese
prefer the rose bud
to the rose blossom,
but how do you fit
that into conversation?

JASON FISK is a husband, a father, and a teacher, living in Chicago suburbs. He’s the author of two story collections, Hank and Jules and Salt Creek Anthology, and three poetry collections, the fierce crackle of fragile wings, The Sagging: Spirits & Skin, and Decay. Find him at his website.
Second place winner of the 2009 Luminaire Award for Best Poetry.