He filled my stone cold flat with Autumn leaves.
It was a gesture of love –
or so I thought as I trudged
from table to kettle
knee deep in a crunching swish.
He whispered that I should imagine
I was striding through the air of childhood,
the papery brown leaves
whipping up into fresh cold sky,
my mittened hands, ice cheeks,
as if our innocence started and ended there
and the leaves were its fossils.
As for our love, I can’t remember it so well –
it started and finished somewhere,
something was torn and repaired –
I cannot see the scar.
Love went nowhere but into itself,
where it held on
like a precious fish in a tank,
sunk deep in a dream of innocence.
We lay on a soft green hill
near the cemetery,
his golden curls, my young breasts pointing to the sky
like little pink towers
under clouds more robust than we –
a leaf caressed me
shyly as a hand turning away.
This pale, ongoing ocean, silent at her door,
a bow-legged dog brings its fragrance in.
Sitting in time as in a room, small likes and dislikes,
brushstrokes that make up the self,
borne steadily for decades from one room to the next,
as if liking mustard on steak gave her a soul
or disliking oysters something to say.
A stillness in her like that of the sea,
when it settles on the shore of itself and waits.
A friend flitters out of the cold sea mist.
Someone who will remember her
liking raspberry jam
on perfectly still April mornings.