Love is deciduous

Meeting you the first time was like
burrowing fingers into fragrant soil after rain
to find earthworms, curled up like springs and summers
in the notches in the feet of trees.
And in some vernal ways too it was like
the sun glowing through green cocoons above
the swing, revealing maps of veins
and corpses melting to nectar
soon to be stitched and unfolded as butterflies.

But passion like all flowers greys too soon and when
we began shrivelling into gnarly things we started
to understand that you were a rhyme short of a childhood
and I was the tattered rind left by the calling birds
when they’d finished the fruit.

I cannot put a name to it—love, or regret—
which, like the twining branches, become a little more
indistinguishable with every turn of the light
as their boundaries knit into each other’s

It leaves but a crumbling aftertaste—
or a wish for one—
of a vestige of sunlight in this winter ache
and of earth-dwelling creatures
entombed in frost before
they knew
to flee.

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