Alone Among The Roses

He walked.
Through the rose garden
At the Botanical Garden.
He loved roses.
Every different rose
That he could see
In that garden.
And there were literally
Hundreds of them.

He walked through the roses
All alone.
He never brought anyone
To the Botanical Garden
With him.
This was someplace
He could come.
That was safe.
Where he couldn’t
Upset or disturb

He came to the rose garden,
And the other gardens
That were here.
Just to walk.
Just to get away.
To get to a place
Where he could just be
What he was.
Where he could feel
What he felt.
Where he could say
What he said.
And not hurt anyone.

There, among the roses
He would sometimes stop.
And stand perfectly still.
And just stare
At a rose bloom
For a time.

Sometimes he would
Reach out.
And touch the leaves,
And thorns
On a rose bush.
Just to feel the texture
Of the leaves.
And the sharp tips
Of the thorns.
With the tips of his fingers.
For his fingers
Felt everything.

And in the roses.
All alone.
With no one there
To see.
No one there
For him to scare.
He could let his fingers
He could cast off the rules
That he lived with
Every single day.
And just let his fingers

And, oh,
How very much they felt.
Every texture.
Ever curve.
Every line.
Every surface.

Walking through the gardens,
With all the flowers in them,
He would smile.
And sometimes he would laugh.
As he walked along the pathways
Through the gardens
Filled with flowers.
And with trees.

He was there
To be who he was.
To be what he was.
In a place
Where he was alone.
Where the people that he knew,
That he worked with every day,
That he went to church with.
The people of his life.
Would not have to see
What he was like.
Would not have to see
How much he lied to them.
Every day.
Would not have to see
Him as he really was.

So that everyone he knew
Would still believe
That he was like them.
That he understood
Their ways.
And was safe
To be around.

So that he would not upset,
Or disturb,
Or disrupt,
Any of the people
That knew him.

And there
Among the roses,
And the other gardens
He walked through
All on his own.
He knew.

That everyone he knew
Would not have to see
How different he was
From them.
And they could all believe
That he fit in.
And belonged.
With them.

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