The Rose Garden
BY A. E. LONG
LaSwap Sixth Form, '16
2016 Adroit Prize for Poetry: Editors' List
inside the sun: a white-hot
bathroom. a girl’s
melting soaking soap-hands peeling
away a dress. she is looking,
with bruise-yellow eyes, at a red heart
steaming on the shower glass, at
its cold milky case. it slinks off,
after a few days.
this is not an afterlife—it is
The Rose Garden. please do not dip
your fingers in the lake. she looks
with bruise-yellow eyes at the creamy pink
water gleaming. pomegranates
drip poison molasses:
saliva. flowerbeds, rhododendrons, ladybugs
blinking. wine-coloured ants chewing
strawberry roadkill, a soft
handful of brain.
she picks at her razor-burns. blue sky
varnishes, and as the twin suns set
it glows a dusky puce.
she eats the empty wet oranges,
wondering if those little waxy nuggets
are peppermints or his teeth.
A. E. Long lives in London, studying English Literature, Philosophy and Maths. She received first-place in Creative Writing at the 2014 Korolyov Space Olympics, and was commended in the 2015 Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award. Sometimes she puts bits of writing on ae-long.tumblr.com.