Better than all the roses

that came in all the poems

before this one is this rose,

a rose without allusion,

stuck in a beer bottle

on the back porch

of Mando’s crib in the barrio.

There’s no need for history here.

Know that there are lights

coming on in the rich people’s houses

up the hill, and that there’s nothing

between the rose and the moon.

Everyone’s driving home

across the humming bridges

but they won’t be anywhere

for awhile. The center

of things moves around, but

right now, just before dinner,

the center is a rose

on Mando’s back porch,

sniffed by his deep brown daughter

who makes that cooing sound

roses try to make us do.