The darker the rose

Anne Carson

Before you judge success, look to how 
much has been overcome … Dalai lama

Lucky you got out of that house alive. 
Years before you could look the hurt 
which happened there in the eye 
and know it wasn’t the badness they 
said was in you, which drove them to 
it. Perhaps it would have been better 
if it had been physical, if actual scars 
you could touch had raised skin-ropes
reminding you the power they wielded 
over you was of knives/clubs/knuckle-
dusters. Had they rained actual blows 
down on your body, torn your flesh 
caused blood to flow, perhaps it would 
be easier then to know where blame 
          Lucky you got out of that family 
with any single thing intact. Against 
all odds you poulticed yourself back 
to health. The darker the rose, the 
sweeter the perfume.

Anne M Carson is a poet, essayist and visual artist. Her latest publications are Massaging Himmler: A Poetic Biography of Dr Felix Kersten (2019) and Two Green Parrots (2019). She has initiated poetry-led social justice projects, and is a RMIT PhD candidate in Creative Writing.



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