We’re back, walking through the garden
while you sleep – tutting over your decking
and water feature, parting the leaves
of spiked plants bedded in shale,
where once, sore-backed, we dug for victory.
We miss the neat rows of cabbages,
the onions we flourished from the earth,
the white potatoes, pocked with eyes.
Inside, we brush against your clothes,
shocked you should need so many.
You don’t sew, make do and mend, but heap
last year’s shirts in black bags. Where are
your button jars, your slivers of saved soap?
Your radiators tick in the warm, still air.
We peel back your fat duvets. What soft skin,
we think, what soft, soft hands you have.
from Lip (Smith Doorstop, 2007), © Catherine Smith 2007, used by permission of the author and The Poetry Business.