To Love and Be Loved
Jason Jones

To Love and Be Loved

What nerve, to empty your thin wrist. So young
to play so old a game. The blood emerged,
a crimson curtain that dropped at once, then hung
a moment longer, like a breath withheld
in the lungs until, at last, you gasped, and the purged
liqueur swelled, and, like a child’s balloon filled
too full, the blood burst into flame and crawled
along your arm then down your legs before
puddling upon the floor. I know the clown
this life becomes, the rosy cheeks, the fixed grin,
the made-up eyes, the eggshell skin, the war
of will and wine that one can never win
for giving in. And don’t forget, I, too,
have cut myself a mess of roses—for you.

Jason Jones

lives in Roanoke, Virginia, where he works as a bartender. His poems are forthcoming in Saw Palm: Florida Literature and Art and Artemis Journal.