Stolen, ripped from a bush crowding the sidewalk,
everything about them is danger: thorns & theft.
No surprise then that I pay in blood,
the tidy skin-slit prettily spilling its serum.
And did I expect to slip them secretly
from a stranger's garden, minus shout
and accusation? —my smug self
with the sprig tucked into a sack,
atonement measured in layers of gauze
and a finger looped in tape.
(But oh, the crimson petals
dripping from the vase!)