Faded Paper Bouquets: a Poem

Prompt: Go to a book you love. Find a short line that strikes you. Make that line the title of your poem. Write a poem inspired by the line. Then, after you’ve finished, change the title completely.
( Prompt by Holly Lyn Walrath)

Faded paper bouquets all smell like newsprint
but close your eyes and you swear you smell
the fragrance of roses.

You vow you have nothing up your sleeve,
but the only magic I have ever known is
sleight of hand and smoke & mirrors.
(You slowed time to show me the romance
of slow-dancing alone-with the whole world watching-
and dichotomizing song lyrics.)

I knew better.

I knew magicians starved their rabbits
so they slipped through threadbare hats
all the easier
(ribs exposed & thin fur,
bulging eyes,
even magic has its secrets).

Nothing lasts forever, not even promises
hooked on ring fingers,
worn at the throat.
(I have worn a necklace for years
and a scar for even longer than that,
but Lazarus
still doesn’t rise from the dead.)

-inspired by Janet Fitch’s White Oleander

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