First frost

Published in cattails, April 2019

first frost
the grey in her hair
barely noticeable




Left to its own devices, almost any patch of ground will not remain bare for long, before being colonised by some kind of plant. Even rocky shorelines are home to thrift and sea kale, and retreating glaciers are swiftly replaced by alpine grasses and willowherbs.

This planet may be small and blue by virtue of being seventy percent ocean, but the land is most definitely green.

Wild flowers are one thing, happy to be left to their own devices to grow, fruit and senesce. Gardening is quite another. Growing flowers and vegetables from seed is an art and domesticated plants are like pets—they need far more care and protection than their feral counterparts.

No one would call me green-fingered and plants in my care are rather taking their chances. Best intentions are soon forgotten and, before too long, a once well-tended patch is abandoned to the wild, as much as I am myself.

daisy print dress
she loves me
loves me not

(published in Human/Kind 1.4)


Published in Blithe Spirit 28 (4)

First light.  With fumbling hands, I reach for matches.  Striking one, I wait for the initial burst of flame to die down, then gently place it tip to tip with a stick of Japanese incense for a few seconds.  The stick is thin and around six inches long, fragile enough to need careful handling so as not to break.  As it catches light, the tip begins to glow, and I note the familiar aroma of sandalwood and jasmine enter my nose, slowly raising it to touch my forehead in a sign of respect.  Again, with slow deliberate movements, I place it fully upright in a bowl of earth and take my seat on the cushion.

mountain lake
the mist clears
breath by breath