You left a season too soon. The flowers

announced my arrival, lifting their gorgeous heads

where candles spluttered on windowsills

and burned our goodbyes in the dark.

You drifted from bed to the bloodless moon,

I floated to mine from the sun.

Though little, my blue cry filled the room

the way sunlight does

as it goes about scattering shadows,

my first skin honeyed and new.

We might have passed on the way.


At last, cheeks fat in the cradle

of my mother’s arms,

they crowd like wading-birds—

relatives, standing over me

where blurry,

their smiles will be repeated

in crayoned faces years later—

the paper-white days of being raised

from the world I’ll crawl on my knees.

My mouth, a pink and crumpled rose

pearls with a bead of sweet milk.


They will tell me stories about you.

Laughing and pink, you will charge through fields 

with mud-splattered shins

or on weekdays, heap armfuls

of sand and bricks.

Build a castle for me.


They will tell me about you in spring

where candles still melt in the lounge.

Thinking of you, I’ll go out in my dress;

crawl through your garden and find them—

bright, butter-coloured:

petals unpeeling from grass.

Your hand will close my girlish fist

where I crouch in the flowers of May.

I will tug these daffodils free of the dirt

before summer takes them away.


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