she takes a deep breath and reenters the forest. older, wiser, she can do it this time. she views the white petals from a distance. it sings of tenderness that would melt your heart. golden honey drips from within. delicate, it calls out to you, would you be beautiful with me, would you hold me. she edges closer, reaches out to grab its stem-
again, the thorns draw crimson; she flees, never again. years of shoebox rooms to come.