Rose Garden

By: Louis Gallo


I hold the small, delicate, tender hands

Of my daughters as we amble through

The ivy laden, brick porticos of the Rose Garden.

The girls leap and whoop and would dart off

And veer into time

Were I not clutching their fragile fingers.

The present can deceive you,

Beguile you into believing in its presence,

Recur only in static, frozen replicas

Of itself—frozen tableaux.

As we amble I recall this same place—

The archaic brick and cobblestone, the

Always darkened ivy, the butterflies—

Years ago when I lagged behind my father

Who focused his Leica on two other little girls,

My cousin and sister, as they skipped blithely

Toward the light at the end of these same arches,

Toward the luminous, muted rouge of the rose beds

That suffused their delicious attar in the air.

I have the photograph, a blown-up bromoil,

That rarest of photography, I have it now,

Back home, hanging in a vintage frame

In a hallway, a portico of sorts, a place of passage,

Where my ancient past, in black and white,

Not prodigious, bounteous color, but shadows,

Beckons me whenever I open my eyes—

Children girls, always, crowned with ivy,

flitting away with the butterflies, enhancing

the garden, my mind rife with the faint perfume

Of yesterday—which is today.




Two volumes of Louis Gallo’s poetry, Crash and Clearing the Attic, will be published by Adelaide in the near future. A third, Archaeology, has been published by Kelsay Books; Kelsay will also publish a fourth volume, Scherzo Furiant, in the near future. His work has appeared or will shortly appear in Wide Awake in the Pelican State (LSU anthology), Southern Literary Review, Fiction Fix, Glimmer Train, Hollins Critic,, Rattle, Southern Quarterly, Litro, New Orleans Review, Xavier Review, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, Missouri Review, Mississippi Review, Texas Review, Baltimore Review, Pennsylvania Literary Journal, The Ledge, storySouth, Houston Literary Review, Tampa Review, Raving Dove, The Journal (Ohio), Greensboro Review,and many others. Chapbooks include The Truth Change, The Abomination of Fascination, Status Updates and The Ten Most Important Questions. He is the founding editor of the now defunct journals, The Barataria Review and Books: A New Orleans Review. His work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize several times. He is the recipient of an NEA grant for fiction. He teaches at Radford University in Radford, Virginia.