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Ninety-six roses, she took in for May
in a business where thick violet rinse
coats the hair of women.
Eight dozen stems sent by eight different men,
our lady of pedals, a hot new commodity
after moving out on her boyfriend,
who is still an avid contender.
To be sought by an army of lovers
with such a flourish of flowers,
and she a mere shop-girl among women.
Each man she led to the basin,
head back, throat arched
while she massaged the skull's old phrenology.
Gold stars on her ears, hum in the air,
then off went their wet locks.
Again and again
until she had a battalion of biblical Samsons,
ready to be swept away.
A potent condition, this month of May,
the roses added to, her silver scissors flying.
Air thinned to quotidian essence,
and all she could do was smile from her station
at the thought of eight captive gallants.
But then as if poked by love
too smoothly conceived,
she dreamed herself lowered,
set down in an army not made of lovers,
and she, no Lysistrata,
had not the foggiest
notion how to reverse the oncoming slaughter.
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