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Roses Tinged Blue

Jenna Rindo

Roses Tinged Blue


I lost my virginity in a tent staked to the steepest side of Old Rag Mountain. It felt romantic and significant. Staging my honeymoon night in a king-sized bed or a Victorian with canopy and lace curtains seemed too softly predictable. Better to have the edges of arrowheads and pocked boulders poking into my pelvis and shoulders. I walked down the aisle of a bluestone church in Virginia, overflowing with ambivalence. Still, I couldn’t imagine having the necessary guts to leave my groom standing abandoned at the altar. That Saturday in November, the rain wavered between drizzle and deluge. Grains of rice pinged against our black umbrella. My underpants old, my bridal veil new, my shoes borrowed, my bouquet held roses tinged toward blue. 


maple leaves float, soft

scarlet feathers highlight rain

vows will crunch—broken


I am in the doctor’s office, my last scheduled prenatal visit. I am given a large glass of ice water to stimulate fetal movement. My baby fails the non-stress test. The heart rate dips too low with each Braxton Hicks contraction. I am escorted from the office building to the hospital as though a criminal. Later, I hold oxygen to my face and assume a knee-chest position. I pray for the line on the fetal monitor to spike toward a better outlook—a higher altitude, a clear view from the top of the fogged-in mountain. The window is sheeted with rain, the linoleum floor is wet with my broken water. When I push my newborn into the light, I  squint at his lips—pursed shut, silent, wrinkled a dusky gray. My midwife slips her fingers under the twisted cord, loops it from his neck up and over his head. The hot pink of roses rushes to his cheeks. His wasted rump is slapped. A scream startles and ripples from his mouth. It’s the red umbrella opened against a deluge of rain and a sky overcast with chilly smudged charcoal.  


His arrival sign

birds murmuring the mountain

peach lips plum open


My father left no advance directive, no last will and testament with request for dispersal. I am the middle sister and have no executor of estate duty or persona. Before he lost cognizance, he was clear with his verbal wishes—no funeral whatsoever, no tombstone, no hidden fortune, no buried treasure. A year later, my sisters and I dispersed his ashes.The morning after my daughter’s wedding, we combined rose petals with our father’s cremains—nuggets of bone surface like charms from a broken bracelet. We climb to a ravine with the wind behind us. We don't sing, chant or whisper benedictions. There is no superstition in a rhymed stanza to grant him more peace in the afterlife than he harvested in Ohio. I send his quantum particles into a network of roots going deep for potable water. I scatter weightless talcum toward the silhouettes left by shadows. I see his profile on the side of the mountain. 


pink petals descend

leave no clear path to follow

ash drifts pewtersweet

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