We approached her, standing stiffly
outside her cottage on the corner,
while she tended those remaining roses.
The sun was in his fall
with Michaelmas giving way to cooler winds.
She turned with some difficulty,
but still greeted us with a bespectacled smile.
She always had time, especially for me
and her roses, her world seeming slow
and certain, just like the green bus
we caught that hour on the bridge.
By the time we got back,
tired and ladened with groceries,
the sun was still out, sinking intensely
over the evergreen cemetery.
We saw no sign of the ambulance,
or the policeman’s bicycle.
Not even her son’s hastily parked car.
There was only a flutter
in the curtains across the road
as we struggled on by.
Such had been her last afternoon
upon which we had paused.
We hurried home having no idea,
doing up our light coats
in the stiffening breeze.
poem © copyright df barker 2012, first published in poetry collection ‘Anonymous Lines’, available digitally at amazon.co.uk and amazon.com (latter for the book itself).