Weekly my hands work in her dirt.
I remember her skin sagging like a lost kite,
her head wrinkled, dangling thin from her body.
The soil, sometimes fertile, says gravity takes all.
I prune the tulips in winter:
heads wrinkled, dangling thin from the stems.
I edge around her stone. Finger her soil, turn it.
I’ve pruned the tulips in winter,
swept the snow from her polished head; my hands,
edging around her stone, fingered her soil, turned it
soft as cotton, begging the growth of spring.
I’ve swept the snow from her young head
with a mitten or the end of my scarf,
softest cotton; begging the push of spring.
Like her body, once mine, now gone to seed.
With a mitten or the end of my scarf
I’d tap her blushed face, play her like a kitten.
Her body (like mine, now going to seed)
frays and rots despite this quiet tending.
First published in New Leaf 23 (2007) revised for V: An Anthology of International Writing From Edinburgh (2007) and published in Tomorrow, We Will Live Here, 2010.