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
piled by the fence,
abandoned before burial.
© Christy Frisken
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