by Stephanie Powell
From the sea of the backyard you emerge and look as though you’re in need of watering.
We are beneath the sky, a Filipino-swatch blue, a light paste of trout-shaped clouds.
The air is dry and the bush-figs are dropping.
In a different version of this afternoon, I’d pick you up as though you were the child and ask,
what are gardens to old men?
You would say something like, something to be tender to, something to work on. Then get back to work. It would be the answer I am expecting, though I’m not convinced that it belongs to you.
With the price of petrol, semi-retirement-
there is more time spent walking in circles with the hose, making space for paving stones. The city muted, on upturned glass-roots at the end of the street.
Breakfast is coffee, newspaper ink, two slices of toast. Magpies warbling like heavy smokers
in the trees. You grow things to the taste of bees, with your gentle, gentleman hands.
What a proud man-
to have seen him off to work in the morning, igniting the sensor lights in the driveway at the end
of the day. A few games of online solitaire played before bed. Unwinding in the already unwind
There you go again chasing the birds off the new grass seed. Your new ways of working-
hands waving, madcap under the Jacarandas.
Stephanie Powell grew up in Melbourne, Australia. She has spent the last few years living in London (with some short stints in Canada and Kenya). She writes and takes photos. Her collection Bone was published by Halas Press in July 2021. Her work has also appeared in Ambit Magazine, Ink, Sweat and Tears, The Dawntreader, Dream Catcher, Spelt Magazine and Sunday Mornings at the River.
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Photo used under Creative Commons from John Donges