Hand-in-hand we walked together
laughing and talking all the way.
Your fragrance wafted up to me,
pulling me helplessly to you.
You stopped to smell a rose
growing in a stranger’s yard.
You smiled, bounced, and squeed
in childlike delight.
Impulsively, I plucked the rose
and picked the thorns from the stem.
I presented it as a loving gesture
as if I hadn’t just stolen it from another.
Could you smell the intention and care
the gardener had taken to grow that rose?
Did it smell like a prize-worthy flower
plucked days before it would win its prize?
Was there any way I could have known
I was ruining someone’s passion
by thoughtlessly taking a single rose
for our selfish pleasure?
True romance cannot only be about us.
We must consider those around us,
loving and caring even for strangers
as we selflessly serve one another.
In retrospect, I could have loved you more
By leaving the rose where we found it,
bringing you back to smell it joyfully
until the gardener, or nature, took it away.
that selfish love–
it was not ours to take.