poetry, Prose

Between the leaves

For Melissa

If I were a gardener, then I tend my roses. They look after me each morning. I come down from my house to be in their company. I sit on my stoel there, a brown broken soul, and smell the earth. There’s no reluctance to do anything, nor obligation goading me in me greenhouse. I sit by the flowers and watch them. I lift a handful of earth, and smell the intricacies. I listen to the beetles, and the burble of the birds. It is five o’clock in the morning, and I sit in the half-light. The dusty power of a birth comes dripping around me like a doppelganger.

I am alive. I’m by my flowers, watching them grow. Sure the roses have their thorns, and my vegetables grow under the ground, and sunflowers turn their backs on me. It doesn’t bother me; even the grass I grow doesn’t feel green. They say that good work takes tending.

Thank you for your company. When I see you, my bones uncurl their coil. My foibles spill out of my mouth and awkward gestures. I’m thankful for the earthy company, and unsung songs that lay in the traces our voices. Your smile means that the moments are mellow, and that I speak to a person. It’s not a flower that grows in my greenhouse or a vegetable asleep in its bed.

Its person who comes up behind me, tickles my ear with a whisper, and slips a smooth arm around me.



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