A Happening at Great Dixter Gardens

by Katrina Naomi

Black-red succulents, like a child’s drawing
of a flower, all petals. And now she comes,
anxious, polite, have I seen: a 12-year-old boy
in a red fleece jacket? I say I haven’t.
On these steps to the timber-framed house,
daisies hide the malignant stains
of lichen, among other marks. The cacti
should have been a warning –
their thick, spiked trunks, rude spines.
I just record. I’m just the gatekeeper
for whoever treads down from that world
to this. If the cuckoo saw, it stays silent.
The blackbird chatters, but won’t tell.
The sheep saw nothing. The cacti look on.