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I wait for her in the garden,

sucking fretfully on one cigarette after another.

A stream of smoke drifts silently.

Through the neat, round leaves

of the silver birch tree

it dances and

shimmers slyly against placid leaves.

These patient leaves watch me,

quivering alongside one another

like timid school children,

waiting for the school bus

on a rigid winter morning.

The gnarled, stiffened branches from the arbutus tree

lie in a tired stack in the corner of the yard,

like bones in an open grave.

Fallen pears weep into the yellow grass.

She hasn’t bothered to pick them up this year.

She doesn’t want to tend to the yard

now that he is gone.

It remains his responsibility:

a grave-time chore

without the dignity of the congratulations

on a job well done.

The plant beds and flowerpots

lie in wait for her small hands.

They wait to be caressed, and

the buds to be coaxed from their tips,

with the pale light of a November sunrise

promising that her loving touch

is a long time coming.

Memories and dreams

fights and battles

over things like who would wash the dishes

after she slaved over them for thirty-eight years

remain uprooted,

piled by the fence,

abandoned before burial.

© Christy Frisken

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