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early, after rain
I cut wet sprays of cedar, yew and nightshade.
Dust the desk,
arrange a vase
of poison, leaves and berries;
make a pot of tea,
a batch of pancakes.
Love, you always liked my kitchen
warm with midday sun and butter
Though you slept persistently
through ‘early, after rain’
and couldn’t name
the local plants
and never noticed
dust, nor flowers.
Now, this vase of damson berries
damp and fragrant, ripe for dyeing;
autumn brightness, Sunday breakfast
toll alike against your ghosted absence.
Later on, a stranger visits.
Roams the room, as strangers tend
to learn me
by my bookshelves, by my pictures.
‘Gorgeous nudes,’ he comments
a decent interval
to compare me with them.
Underneath my skin
stay slow and silent.
Miss the old familiar blindness
You, who never saw my paintings,
ceased to see my skin in due course, likewise.
Late sun on blue-black nightshade berries.
a dustless desk,
a vase of toxic clustered cherries.
Still and yet
your failure to see them
blurs them for me.