I moved with her in her shadow,
always running behind,
keeping in perfect step with her mood,
trying to usher her out into daylight
so that I could gather poppies in the sun.
And if I succeeded, I was invited to dance.
We’d twirl round and round
and I’d throw back my head
as I burst into her laughter,
weaving in and out of her displeasure
and leaping onto the pages
of her good books.
I was so dizzy with delight
that I’d topple over and slide with her
back into her darkness,
craving light to feed me strength
to pull away.
Years ironed out the folds
of an undulating mind
and I often decked her home with cut flowers.
But I didn’t know how much she loved me
until I felt myself drop
from between the pages
of the book that fell from her dead hand.
Painting: “Different Poppies” by Willem Haenraets, acrylic on canvas, 2009.