On an ash grey wooden bench beneath the black plum tree
he sat in the graceful garden and studied with tired eyes
the green, intensely green, climbing ivy on the red brick wall.
“How does one say ‘Good-by’?”
In the autumn breeze the shade of the plum tree flickered
and ruffled the tidy lawn: two maroon leaves flickered, fluttered –
darkly transparent in the sun – and settled on the white flagstone
The glowing afternoon sun scaled the garden wall, soaked his
body with its warmth, and drew the warm wool smell from his suit.
He pulled at the knee of his trousers: there were three creased
wrinkles just above the knee where he had crossed his legs.
The high sheen from the tip of his shoe shimmered in nervous
He raised a well-manicured hand to straighten his tie and ran
his hand along the side of his head and down his neck and sat
with bent head.
His shadow started.
The clacking of her beads and rustling of her habit brought
him to his feet.
The afternoon sun sloped behind the steeple and he fumbled
with his hat while they seated themselves on the ash grey wooden
bench beneath the black plum tree to do what had to be done.