‘Help me see?
First let me show you
my secret garden.
It won’t take me long
to show you where to find me,
to show you where I’ll be…’
Her skirts brush a path through a dusting of dead soil trying to steal
the crazily paved thoughts that lead the way down through the tolling bells
of Fuchsia that ring only in her ears. Wilted scent, long since a memory,
wafts past her nostrils only. Birds never sing or hover gently – there are
no lush enticements such as sunlight or colour for them to repose in.
The ivy, once triumphant in its climb, has grown weary;
its brittle hands crumble without so much as a touch, just as she would,
and so easily, we fear.
Heavy oak doors sigh and groan as a frail, white gesture endears her to them,
and they give as if opening for her and her alone. She turns to wave us on,
and she smiles at us, intruders into this labyrinth of sadness, where melancholic
blossoms lay forlorn at her feet. She does not see us – she does not
see anything at all – but she smiles knowingly. She tilts her head back slightly, ill at ease.
Because of us? No, it is not about us, not about us at all.
Soon, the wind begins a cooling serenade causing her gait to slow till she comes to rest upon a mildewed bench, her skirts still once more, and there she waits – but we cannot tell for what or for whom, and not just from the widening of her smile.
She heaves a heavy sigh and plucks imaginary petals from a spent stem that has dried
and rotted. She plucks rhythmically to the deadened beat of a tired heart. But for her,
inside her secret garden – inside her walled off mind – the colours fall lazily. One by one she counts them all.
‘He loves me,
he loves me not,
And she smiles…
We tip our hats and bid her good day, all of us without the heart
to remove her from within, from her secret garden… and she smiles.