Unfortunately I’m Dead

1 July 1998

A little portrait of me lies in the flowerbed
making allusions, watching her comb her hair.
She sings into the shattered mirror:
“But you will last as long as the rose,
as long as the glass, glass tulips. . .”
A can-opener smiles derisively on the night table.

Each humid, endless afternoon
I hacked the encroaching bamboo,
unstrangled the weeds from our bedposts,
and made little repairs in the canopy.

I remember she loved and feared the dark.
Whenever the horses broke loose and threatened the begonias
her heart trembled under my hand like a bat.
We’d huddle all night in bed, counting.
The horses filled us with the ineffable grandeur
of their silent pounding, or something like that.
Mostly I liked not knowing what to expect.

The sun looms angrily, high above, stranded.
She walks, or rather meanders, towards my portrait, chanting
“Phillip, your green thumbs, the envy of all Wales.”
Each wisp of her hair grows larger, they wave and shine
like snakes you can see through. How strange. She bends
over me, blocking the sun.

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