the silver birch across the back garden
a swirling late autumn breeze
stripping the old tree of its leaves
which unswept have obliterated
the patch of grass below
the very same tree they would have seen
undrawing their curtains in dawns long passed
when the grass there was still green,
but this is late afternoon and the garden
has changed from when this place was known
not as ‘my parents’ house’ but my home.
Nothing remains the same and so it is here
with everything neglected and overgrown
weeds ravaging the flowerbeds once
nurtured and tended by my mother
until her last illness kept her indoors.
Now I am an inheritor, debating whether
to sell the house that binds me to it still
as if under some dark parental spell.
Yet this garden is peopled only with my
memories and there are no ghosts
haunting the uncut lawns and the flowerbeds
only the leaves from the silver birch
layer upon layer
onto the back lawn
burying the scenes from long ago
as I look out of the bedroom window.