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Rosehips: 2020-2022

by Delia Bennett

I remember the rosehips.
And the man on the beach who told me he was picking them to make wine,
and in that moment I believed, yes,
everything really is that easy.

My harvest causes the “Thank You, Come Again” bag they’re collected in to mutate,
a stretch of filmy plastic turned shrimp shell pink.
One hundred pieces of potable rose quartz waiting.
And another man proposed we do it together,
ferment the fruit in his closet.
Alchemy amidst the wash & fold,
receipts and protein powders.
Everlane Oxford shirts and retired military dress would guide their rose-tinted transformation from sticky solid
into sweet liquor.

Picking those rosehips felt like a prayer,
a risk not yet ripe for the taking.
Boldly I picked them anyway.
Begging how do we plug up the now and bottle it
so we can stay here,
infinite on the shore of a bay,
in the night of a garden,
in the thick of rosehip bushes pruned
by the feminine hands of my past,

My hands slick with almond butter oil.
The sting of tangerine and passion in an old Mexican coke bottle I washed clean with what I feared was
another woman’s toothbrush.

I found it tucked in the kitchen drawer.
The one used for old medical bills, rubber bands,
capless pens, odds and ends with no place of belonging.

I had five whole inches of Colgate green
two-dollar polymer
that we called mine on that other brush.

And I was wrong,
and the blueberry jam I smeared on its bristles,
like a call to arms. It remained.
A reason to leave you that never came.

If I stand at this bridge long enough I can see our ghosts.
Jetlagged you and my lips
taste like mussels.

Do they remember the rosehips?
And the tainted wet ocher they became when locked away in the dark?
And the way neither of us could bring ourselves to taste it;
the smell a tangy mixture of stale scoby, vinegary kombucha, berries,
and soy sauce?
And how we poured out all that we made, all that time,
untouched and said we’d try again next summer?
Do you remember the rosehips?

Delia Bennett is a New Orleans-born writer and filmmaker, and a recent migrant from New York to California. She studied writing at The New School and The University College of London. She is currently at work on her first book; a collection of travel essays about the twenty-seven places she vacationed to scatter her mother's ashes. You can find her moonlighting as a seller of rare and used books on Instagram @mushibooks. She did not start writing poems until she moved to the west coast, and felt crushed by the scent of star jasmine. This is her first piece of published poetry.

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