You never saw me,
but I was there when you spoke to your flowers.
Your hand trembling water from the jug
once used to collect milk from the farmhouse.
Three terracotta pots, evenly spaced,
on the back slate windowsill. A long way
from the garden you tended as a child.
I can’t remember what flowers they were,
or if it was spring or summer. Maybe,
I imagined it all when you told me your secret.

And when dementia unpicked your life,
thread by thread, you had no knowledge of me.
Your words were different, and questions I asked
unanswered, though you always smiled
when I brought you flowers. Then, in your eyes,
I saw something of you, as though you crept out
of the shadow, only to turn back, confused by the light.
Perhaps that was when you met me halfway.
Trying too hard to find places already erased
from your mind, I missed the secret we’d shared.

Rowland Hughes ©