All that is the rose is in the seed. Tilled in dark soil, cared and observed, now filling with colour. Beauty from plainness. Reds, Pinks, Yellows and Blacks.
A boy, not unlike me, perches against the seat-belt, waiting for the plane to bounce against the runway. It feels strange and exciting that first flight. The banking of the plane and tilting of the horizon. Like those TAA ads, but from the inside.
The garden delights. The family takes the station wagon to Queensland. Weeds grow and the ground bakes. The flowers brown. Bees linger then move on. Undergrowth climbs and strangles.
Egged on by friends, he watches films about toxic avengers. School bus conversations about this “real world”. Trying to be serious like dad and watch David Johnston and Jana Wendt at Eyewitness news. A friend’s dad’s porn stash. A fist to the face. Rooted. Untended and wild. Scrub.
A tip truck lands a metre of tan bark on the nature strip. The boy ponders how you measure a metre of the stuff. Soil is turned. Browned branches are secateured. Thorns punish the perpetrators.
Abandoned as complete, he pretends. His first job excites all. Females confound. New days are work. Lying in fresh grass staring at the blue sky is his happiest memory. He can’t feel. Obscured and alone. Fading.
Buds pop secretly overnight on old stems. The skeletal spaces dotted with new green. Patient tending. Blood and bone. The rose bush returns not to its youth. Odd bends and scars mark bad seasons. Perhaps it is, or adds, character.
Lost but for chance. An elder. A friend’s advice. A new age guru. Tony Robbins or something. Someone who sees a rose where he sees shit. Or nothing. A clearing of space. An uncrowded hour. More hacking at the muck, scouring of plaque.
Clearing. Empty and fragile. Porcelain brave. Shafts of light through lines. Hacked pure but returning. Enduring.
Salvation makes him beautiful.