One Rose, Please (ASL Poem)

Watch in high-definition. Captions not provided but look below for translation. The performance took place on March 3, 2018, at the Deaf Meets Def Poetry Jam in Loving Cup.

Image description: Eric Epstein is standing on a stage, wearing purple long-sleeves and purple sweatpants. The background is curtained with projected text “Loving Cup.” There are also two pink spotlights behind Eric, who is white. He is signing “FINISH.”

Filming credit: Hayden Orr

Translation by Cindy Gilchrist:

“One Rose, Please”

Ah, Lover, who brings him a flower.
A red rose, petals like hearts, a crown on a thorn-sparked quavering stem.

“One rose, only! A bouquet is too much wilderness!”, he pleads, but as soon as it’s said, he FALLS
into a bouquet jungle of Roses. Of thorns. Of grasping tangling stems.

Cut, gouged, mangled, he struggles through the dark pointed forest. Stabbed, prodded, bloodied.

Lay down to rest and bleed and call for help,
Ah lover, who pores over him, Towering, Scrutinizing, a magnifying glass held to critique him all the better.

He cries, “One minute only! More is too much!”
But the sun-heat, condensed to one scalding beam, targets his heart and sets it alight in agony-flames.

Raises his arm, the life-blood dripping, all the better to quench the fire. But they only grow, stronger, blazing, flaring, searing, scorching, branding a throbbing wound, that lives, remains, pulsing

In us all.

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