She had in a hand the scrapings of the lawn,
little bits of bark and twigs, and she held a rail.
And winced and smiled and said, no, everything’s all right.
Except it wasn’t: she was doubled over, and the pain in her
back showed in the taut lines of her face.
She felt it in her heart, too; another pain: loss.
He’s gone now, the husband. Didn’t take long.
Dead and gone, and her left now with the house
and the pain and the gathering of wood scraps to
keep the fire going in all manner of weather,
and no-one to talk to except the cat, and she wasn’t fond of him.
And that’s how it was when I offered to help and she said no.
So I stayed as she clung to the rail and held the wood
and I tried to be as bright as possible.
Then she said it was nice of me to drop by and something like
a smile eased itself on to her face. It was just as the wind rose.