First published in August 2021

You come to look for me,
your dressing-gown flapping.

A summer night,
see-through dark, stars,
Shasta daisies smiling moon-smiles,
geraniums velvet-black,
a fat candle on the garden table,
its flame tearing ragged holes
in the stillness.

Uncurious, accepting,
you sit beside me
on the slatted wooden chair,
(hard on a backside clad in pyjama bottoms)
take my hand,
twirling its wedding ring
round and round.

The silence is peppered
with small sounds,
stems creaking,
a shuffle of slippers,
the candle spluttering,
a petal falling.

The cat pads outside,
jumps on your knee.

Stocks, nicotianas, lavender
and roses hanging from the archway
trail love-letter scents across
the night air.

The flame sends a shiver
into the dark, gutters
to death’s door and blackness
is absolute. I shiver too.