Rose Parade

Lily Margaret Greenway, English, Religion, Freshman, Little Rock, Arkansas


The sun bursts into the new year.
Its bloom mimics sixty-thousand
roses whose scent stretches
as far as the rays of the rising light.
Together, they bury the baggage of
gathering spectators, hoping, wishing,
for beginnings cut as fresh as flower stems.
A shift in numbers as clocks strike,
a vow to start the year off right.
Planted seeds
given hard work and light
grow into roses.


I stand in the activity’s center,
headsets buzzing with instructions.
Brass and wood and strings and drums
tuning to perfection, streets hum
with excitement. The time has come
when rehearsals cease, finishing touches
as roses open up to the daybreak – dawn.


The onlookers trickle in, grabbing
cups of watered-down orange juice – already
leaking through their thin paper vessels –
The sweet glaze of a donut breakfast,
the icy glaze of a frozen-over seat on a metal
bleacher row, reserved
for a party of one, two, or ten.


The tart orange juice does not quench
their thirst. As petals fall,
individuals grasp for answers,
Who was I? Who am I?
Who can I be? And why,
am I not yet them?
The children are too mesmerized
by the wave of the colored flags
and smiling faces of the dancers
to contemplate the float of worries
following the parade’s conclusion.
Perhaps the world would be more colorful
if told through the joy of a child’s eyes.


Families bundled in big coats.
hands cold, eyes wide, hearts healed, smiles bright.
For who does not love a parade?
Every float its own masquerade.
Tubas honk, horses neigh, flowers flourish
with the promise of the day, waking.


Whether one is blessed to stand ten
feet from the roses’ perfume, sweet
and fresh, or enjoy the view, kept
company by a coffee mug in the warmth
of their own home, each clings
to the branch of hope that their resolutions
surpass the beautiful, yet fleeting,
lives of the blooming, wilting,

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