As it so transpired, of the two of them, it was she
left on their own to think fondly on the other;
a conundrum they would often debate.
She always said she’d be the first to go, but
he’d gone and proved her wrong. Cantankerous
as he’d become in his old age. He was indeed
the fortunate one, or so she considered.
Straw hat tilted to shade her eyes,
in the shadow of the vine-covered veranda,
she sits – glass in hand, bottle at her side.
His chair mocked her with its stillness
and with her foot she gently rocked it.
Nice to hear that squeak again, as it swung
back and forth. He was always going to oil it ...
but she was glad he never did.
Yellowing leaves, once, pistachio-green,
hang on to the end – reluctant to fall
in the breathless air, as marron-rouge grapes
over-ripen in the late September heat.
Scavenging wasps tirelessly compete
for a share of the feast –
a harvest long-since ever reaped.
Bottle to lips – downs the dregs of the wine.
Smoky-pink tamarisk wafts and weaves
in a sudden breeze; straw hat tumbles,
flutters to the ground.
No sound, except the shriek of swifts, diving low
and the high-pitched whine of mosquitoes
as they jive and jostle for a coveted space
beneath the corrugated roof.
She drifts to sleep and dreams
of those heady, bygone afternoons
when he’d carry her to bed – drunk
on love alone.
Stems pendulously hang – burdened
with their unclaimed booty and only blackbirds
hear a sigh as the final grape is tasted
and the vines lift aching, twisted limbs that reach
to gently soothe a bruised St. Martin’s summer’s sky.