That modest shrub has come up again in the garden,
over in a damp corner by the shed. It’s the one with
the toadskin leaves shaped like tiny maps of Florida,
somewhere he’s pretty sure they never went to.
He remembers it now, but not how it got there, the shrub
that is; its name he thinks he probably never knew.
It must’ve been something his wife planted, years ago,
before the business with her knees, before those shadows
appeared that the doctor had to point out to him twice,
using the tip of his hornet-striped pencil, though she
saw them immediately, recognising them like old friends
she was meeting from a train just pulled into a station
on a warm afternoon, whose faces hadn’t changed a bit.
first published in Whale Road Review, issue 6, spring 2017