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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 14: August 2022
Poem: 147 words
By Pauli Dutton

Passion in the Descanso Gardens

I tarry near the scarlet roses—
Darcy, Amalia, and George—
who flaunt their provocative colors 
and sway like bailadoras. 
They bend toward me, 
toss their petals across my face, 
and proposition me: Stay 
awhile. Admire our blooms. 
Touch our inner parts. 
I embrace each flower—
three, five, fifteen at once—
and tremble, mesmerized 
by their perfume. I swear 
I’ll remember each silky petal 
and never disclose our lust 
in the height of spring 
when passions can overcome 
the most sensible of us, 
even a hybrid rose. 
These past 20 years, no one 
has chosen my fragrance, 
adored my buds, taken me home 
to place in a crystal vase. 
No one has gazed at my ovaries 
in a daily rite of ecstasy. 
I’d welcome the palpitations 
of a stranger’s knee 
brushing mine beneath 
the library table. 
I wouldn’t report him 
to the authorities. 

Pauli Dutton’s
Issue 14, August 2022

work has been published in Writing In A Woman’s Voice, Verse Virtual, The Pangolin Review, Better Than Starbucks, Altadena Poetry Review, Okay Donkey, and elsewhere. A librarian for 40 years, she founded, coordinated, and led a public reading series from 2003-2014. She has served on the Selection Committees for The Altadena Literary Review in 2020 and The Altadena Poetry Review from 2015-2019. She has also co-edited the 2017 and 2018 editions. Pauli holds an MLIS degree from the University of Southern California.

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