More Leaves of Grass

These rooms are full of perfumes

Helen Clare

none of them mine: the light green soap
in the dish: the heavy pine
of the lavatory cleaner; something warm
left in the folds of the velvet curtains.

"It's not easy", her daughter said,
the week before we moved, "starting over".
So she left us carpet, curtains,
the dead woman's furniture,

down to clean towels, tissue
on the roll. Its hard not to see knotted hands
reaching, suds on a loose belly, fabric
roughing her papery thighs.

We brought our own mattress, but sleep
on her bed, face her way, towards curtains
that don't close; are woken by the edge of light
that touched
her each morning, but the last.

I cut crimson roses from her garden,
vase them on her dresser. They drowse me
on these unripe mornings, as I plan a nursery,
for the child I fear will never be conceived.