By: Ester Luna

Everyone says not to touch the thorns.

They’ll prick you, warn the parents, meaning well.

So every time she sees one of those plants,

Emerald green, glistening, and forbidden,

Dew-drops captured in the folds of its silk petals

Held as jealously as an oyster does its pearl,

The little girl shies away,

Scared not of hurting it,

But of being hurt by it.


But all the rose wants is to grow, then bloom, then die

As its roots reach deep into Earth’s depths,

As its velvet leaves absorb the sun’s golden rays

As its carefully enclosed bud fans out into sheets of pink

Not once does the rose strive to break porcelain skin with its thorns.


It didn’t mean to cause the little girl’s anguished cry

It didn’t want to be the cause of the mother’s condescending “I told you so .”


It just wants to grow nimble and strong, the rose.

Does it know that it is dangerous?

Is it capable of deciphering the looks of suspicious, fearful awe,

Looks it’s thrown by so many pairs of naive, superior eyes?


Does it know that the little girl had to wear a small, white bandage on the small, red wound?

Does the rose understand the pain it causes?

All the rose wants, after all, is to grow, then bloom, then die.


Ester Luna; 15; Washington, D.C. Ester is fluent in English, Italian and French. She has been studying Chinese for eleven years and Spanish for two.