I pruned the rosebush today
against oncoming winter
“You can’t hurt it like that, go ahead and cut it to the ground” you told me
and like every year I did

But as I put the shears against the first branch I thought of summer
and how the vines crept up the fence,
each branch thrust forth from the stub of last year’s roses and reaching for the sun
in those months with no November
No inevitable rot of leaf and thorn
just the urge to blossom
thoughtlessly and profligately

The shears in my hand were sharp
like first frost
like words
that cut your tongue and make you bleed

“Cutting makes it stronger” you said
and I looked at the rose
and like every fall I apologized
and I cut