Woman in the garden
What you see on entering a room –
on a chairframe in the attic crook,
will last a lifetime.
She smiles to see her slim form continue
in the sunlit legs
of the stool, the lilac towel fallen across its face,
and she thinks –
wisteria peeling from the house one mid-April –
as if marooned on the way to a word.
wildly up the wall: the mirror
is a locked garden
and sometimes she visits that country.
Through its keyhole
the stool in miniature
wades a cobalt sea, or some accurate idea of sea –
with salmon feet
engaged in telling things new
a song veined
with rust from the throat.
She wants someone who will teach her the names
their alien natures: the mimosa’s trembling
yellow and the ornate
mainmast of the ash. The only thing she ever
was an enamel bath, the running water
with cochineal, a window, somewhere
heightening the tone –
the bay at Cannes,
the mountains of the Esterel.
poem by Sarah Howe