The Potential of Yellow Roses by Susan J. Erickson


“The Potential of Yellow Roses” by Susan J. Erickson


I spent my formative years leading fish to water. 

                I heard my mother thinking, You are not living 


up to your potential.  Then I was struck by static electricity

                and took up yoga.  The yoga teacher said,


Open toes, open mind.  I opened my toes.  My horoscope

                this morning announced that in a ten-minute conversation 


between strangers an average of three lies are told.

                If you and I are not strangers, not average,


what happens?  Lie-wise, I mean.  Today is the summer solstice. 

                Given a trellis, the rose at the front door has hundreds


of blooms.  For years, not recognizing its potential, I treated

                it as a bush, pruning its canes like an ikebana student.


Less being less, it rarely bloomed.  For one yellow rose who expects

                a blue ribbon?  I did get one for a crocheted potholder


at the county fair when I was twelve.  Oh, maybe it was red—

                the ribbon I mean,  not the rose.  


Tomorrow, like Frida, I’ll wear yellow roses in my hair.  The thorns

                will comfort, like a friend who does not lie.




Originally published in Sweet Tree Review



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Susan J. Erickson Artist Statement:

In 2017 my first full-length book of poetry “Lauren Bacall Shares a Limousine”
will be published by Brick Road Poetry Press. It is a book of poems in women’s

There is an Emily Dickinson poem that reads, “If your Nerve, deny you–/Go
above your Nerve–”. I think of this book as telling the story of women who
went above their nerve. I wanted to understand their contributions, pay
homage to them and maybe dramatize how each of us can go above nerve.

I came late to poetry and will be 77 when the book is released. I hope my story
encourages older women to pursue their creative talents.


Author: A Room of Her Own

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