We were there to sand floors and scrub tiles,
preparing the house for the new bride,
your sister gleaning some kind of country harvest
from the trick of a kind smile. I ran wild,
beguiled by the pollen-thickened air,
nasturian wildernesses climbing into tall rooms,
the hot echo of sunlight.

In the garden a sundial told the weather,
and at night a boy waiting in shadow
led me beneath the limes
to the stream buried in forget-me-nots,
the muddy banks of drowning.
If you looked closely,
a face smiled from the shallows,
trembling with hope in the cold current,
the child unborn of the marriage never to happen.

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