I swallow the flowers again, gulping them down from half-open blooms to waxy stems.
The thorns leave scratches along the inside of my throat, so I wash the taste of blood away with more flowers.
I shove the last rose in my mouth just in time; you look over at me and smile.
When my breath catches, it has nothing to do with the bouquet blocking my airway.
Next time, I tell myself, next time, I won’t swallow them.
I said that last time, too, and the time before.
I’m sure the gardens that have taken root in my gut don’t agree with me.
But then you pass me in the hall, and the air, when you walk by, smells like the roses in your shampoo—
And already I’m back at the flower shop, asking for roses around the ache in my throat.