BONNETS AND BURDENS

 

We should dance, he said, as she passed,

Dropping the shovel with one hand, taking

His hat with the other, sun bleached

And straw weaved, but there’s no music,

She answered, but there’s no one watching,

He replied to the crimson cheeks

Of her porcelain face, neath a crimson bonnet

And he reached for her hand and his arm

Took her waste and his nose found her scent

And her skirts began to rustle and the cords

Coursed through the corset and the branches

Behind them turned movement into melody,

For a moment, in the sunshine, in a park,

On a Monday in May while he watched her

And wondered how long she would stay,

I won’t always be a gardener, he whispered

To the curve of her neck, to the twist of her ear,

To his work weary hands, battered and bruised,

To the part of him who longed for a wife,

But I will always be a widow, she said to herself,

As she smiled and left his hold, and the trees

Stopped their singing and the man picked his shovel,

This stranger, this gardener, this man who heard music,

This man who brought beauty to life, but the bonnet

That she wore was her husband’s favourite,

The dress, the last gift he gave, so she walked off

Alone, in the park, on a Monday, with her grief,

Which was all she had left.

 

All words and pictures by Damien B. Donnelly

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