With branch, stalk, thorns, by a dry summer’s
overgrowth obscured, in one unkempt border,
a rose – traditional, heart red – bloomed.
Over tall weeds and grasses, tangled, brittle,
I leant to pluck it, found it blown, blooded,
a bouquet of wormy petals – left it
blighted, inviolate. Where the black gate
hinged to the wall banking our garden,
coffin-sized, skeletal leaves gathered,
whispering, stones, stones. Come winter, frost fissured
bricks and luxurious, pitchy earth sprinkled.
In spring, grasses sprouted in the crevice;
fleshy leaves hissed, breath, breath.