I de-thorned roses and gave them to you with hands that hoped –
for something in return, for a pair to hold,
for anything, anything,
at all.

And I watched you as you gave her my bouquet,
watched you shake with fever as she ripped petal after petal away.
I stood witness to her pulling your layers apart
Until you were just the stem of a man.

I watched you wilt as she closed the curtains,
closed the doors,
closed you out.
And even as you decomposed,
as you laid down and gave up and spurned the sun,
you loved her.

And the scars on my palms were in vain.
You slipped through my fingers like ash
And they were empty –
Nothing at all.