On Sunday,
before Mum’s cancer was confirmed
winter yawned a warm shiver
and wee white buds
—still with a boreal bite—
popped from dark-bark spindles,
      yet to leaf,
phosphorescent against blue-black hues
like earth stars discarded from the sky.

I nipped outside and snipped the
baby branches from the main trunk,
rehoming them indoors, redressing
the air with decaying base notes,
topped with a sweet spring clean,
      fusing seasons
that Mum inhaled as she snoozed,
embracing Sunday

      and later awakening
with death-breath
expelling Blackthorn from the house,
screaming in the mother tongue
      severed at the root
twenty-two years mute.


Below rugged earth by Fairy Hill,
my roots are entangled in bones
relieved of soft flesh

that once glowed red upon cheeks
ripened by an autumn heart
beating slightly out of time.

And now, with every visit,
decades of fallen leaves
are trampled down in rusted hues.