Vivacious like a full-bloomed rose,
No one knew about your thorns.
And from your stage, you grew on every person in the crowd;
A community of dancing hearts and loving eyes.

They’re just people in a crowd.
Mere feathers on a bird,
Drops in a stream,
Each, but a word on a page:

From a distance, your petals are beautiful.
Bright and welcoming.
Deep and fragile.
A sign of hope.
A single blade of grass reaching up from a sidewalk crack.

It’s not until someone joins you on stage,
To grab hold of your stem,
Your foundation,
Your thorns,
It’s not until then when their red spills out.

One by one they come then run.
And you become the world’s greatest disappearing act.
Reflected in your magic mirror is an empty auditorium.
Empty seats.
Void of life.

And you’ve done it to yourself.
Forced backstage into the shadow of the mess you made.
Crimson drops pool at your feet.
Your soles stained with the blood of hearts you broke apart.

And with every footstep,
A trail of sticky red love left behind.
Leading to you.
Leading to the mess of you,
The beautiful crimson rose.
With thorns as sharp as knives.

Illustration by Dasha Zolota