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Callaloo 24.4 (2001) 1125
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Poetry For Dummies
"Roses often signify love or beauty,
and the worm is often used
to signify death and decay."
O worm, thou art robust and strong.
The garish rose that makes you
act like a prick has shunned you until
you felt like a defunct doornail
signifying decay. Now that she's
caught you lying in her bloody bed,
you'll find that her dark scent
rouses the most rigorous stiff.
Harryette Mullen is the author of six poetry collections, most recently Muse & Drudge (Singing Horse Press, 1995) and the forthcoming Blues Baby: Early Poems (Bucknell University Press) and Sleeping with the Dictionary (University of California Press). She teaches in English and African American Studies at UCLA.