Rose Leaf by Beth Tremaglio at


Thank you to all who take the time to read this piece.



I spoke with a woman Maria, she said this to me, “I work more now then I did 10 years ago, I feel as though I’m making less. I’m working to try and meet this rising cost to live.” She gave up her apartment and is renting room. She doesn’t go to the doctors much, unless, in her words, “I feel like I’m dying.” Her medications are mix of over the counter pills. She works over 60 hours per week, a portion goes to taxes. She explained to me that she tries to be in bed at midnight, hopefully falls to sleep by 1am to wake at 5am, leaves her home at 6:15am. Her main meal, sandwiches. I asked her how she does it and she said this, “I pray that I don’t feel my life.” Those words affected me and set the tone for this poem. We talked of the possible driving tax and she grew anxious, when I looked at her I saw numbness, but also resilience, a heart to not give up, this is where the title “rose leaf” came from.
There’s a quoted line “it is not the enemy without that will destroy a country, but within.” I paraphrased what Abraham Lincoln said years ago, Maria’s words reminded of what Lincoln said.
Maria, I hope I’ve done right by your voice.


Rose Leaf

written by: Beth Tremaglio



11pm, sixteen hour work day ends,
she lay her head against a barren sky,
moon rushes in the sun,
she wakes,
skin pale,
lines upon her face yawn,
she bathes in the fragrance of a sleepless night,
quickly she dresses.

Tired hands grab a mix of over the counter remedies.
She can smell the light rain as it begins to fall,
a single drop drenches her window,
with words from nobel men of long ago,
“It is not the enemy without that will destroy a country, but the enemy within!”
These words have found refuge in her skin.

From the room above her,
coffee brews,
a pleasant aroma hangs from the ceiling,
awakens words upon her flesh,
between weary and angry numb hands pray,
voice like ash, blows through the heavens,
“fall upon an angel, share this sorrow with me,”

6:15 am, another sixteen hour day begins.
She locks her door,
fingers follow a splintered rail,
her sole on the hollow steps of dimly lite hallway.
Beat foot touches pavement,
grey shatters color, night has given birth to a sullen dawn,
drapes her body like lead.
Her eye naked, wells with words, “let me not feel my life!
will no angel bare of this plight!?”
A parched ground pulls to itself, her tears,
a rose leaf begins to burst through stone,
color shatters grey,
For a moment hope threads through weary and angry
that numbs continue to pray.

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This publication is part 3 of 10 in the series Voices on Skin