Her Flowers

by Pascale Petit

Just before she died, my grandmother glanced
out of her bedroom window and saw her garden

bloom one last time – with white chrysanthemums,
lavender peonies, prize dahlias,

cascades of red-hot pokers, delphinium sparks.
Did the fireworks wake her?

Muzzy from sleeping pills, my grandmother
got out of bed and started to go downstairs,

missed her step and thrust out her hand to save herself,
but the clothes drying on the banister

gave way, and down she hurtled and
broke her neck, while bouquets of lupins

exploded into the early hours.
Each November 5th I think of the passing of one

who seemed like a god to me, her sky-high flowers
when I stood in the heaven of her garden –

the mountains of her rockery, the shrubbery,
savannah of her lawn and the honeysuckles

with their anthers of fire, their buds opening
with a thunder-crack, the fuse wire of their stems.