The wasps are back, and one
found it’s way through the kitchen window,
either drawn to the scent of the primrose
resting in the vase, bright and blooming,
or you’ve got a nose for the jam she’s spread
thick between the Victoria sponge.
I know the feeling, guided by the sweet,
the calm, and soothing smells that might
bring comfort, that might satisfy hunger,
that might lend a mote of hope and relief
before the rains return.
I fan you out, and you bob and bounce
on the breeze, giddy and buzzing.
Go report to your colony, do what you must,
but there’ll be no cake left
when you return.
Out in space another kind
looks at us
from the deep.
“In the light they wander,
and in the dark
As for the paths they made,
I couldn’t tell you.
The sand and silt
has been swept in the current
and we’re left with a clean slate.
Let’s not make the same mistakes.
It’s the season for wild garlic,
and we were told to follow our noses
for the carpet of future pesto.
Each leaf we picked we handled with care,
neatly folding them like bank notes,
one on top of the other, none to spare,
careful of the tender root and stem
so next year they’ll return and grow
and someone else will find them.
I’m not sure what to say – they met
the chopping board that night,
grouped together with salt and black pepper,
and the scent of wild and natural and free
was lost in the mortar versus pestle,
lost in following the recipe.
The neighbours moved in two weeks ago,
and commanded in their residency
to remove a tree from their patio.
They signed with a ballpoint pen,
and the tree was trimmed and cut
in an afternoon
and sent to the tip,
with the catkins left on the doorstep.
I paid my pocket to see the Coliseum
But I’m not made for this heat.
When the horizon has a wavy glaze
And the city skyline sizzles and evaporates
Upwards into the clear sky,
I draw the line and stay inside
As the sun grills the Basilica gold
Like cheese on toast.
I know the brave gladiators fought outside in the heat
Those years ago,
Bare chests, bare feet,
For their lives, for their freedom,
For their kings and queens and kingdom,
But I need to stand in the frozen food aisle,
Just for a little while.
Originally published May 2016
Your stories have only ever been contained
in the frame of sash windows,
but your voices carry through the night
of your bad days and your bitter lows.
The world waits as you rest
to the flicker of television sets,
where a sleeping mind forgives
and a morning mind forgets.