Reverse Space

by David Van-Cauter

The herbs have taken over now –
a hidden path beneath the arching spray
of mint and rosemary.

There is a pond beyond that hedge, behind
the empty bird feeder that swings
from the apple tree.

He used to push that lawnmower, the nonelectric
back-breaker, the green paint rusted
and all the blades blunt.

His wheelbarrow, with a hole the size of a skull,
provides a climbing frame for slugs,
storage for weeds.

His mind is elsewhere – his first date in ’32,
school uniforms and silent films,
songs from the music halls.

But as he sits, his eyes see through
each tendril hook, each patch of earth,
to the far, far end,

and buried there, the corrugated iron
of an Anderson shelter, still intact,
awaiting the next attack.