Milk maids

The milk maids are out
buxom blossoms bouncing in the breeze
They came from my mother’s garden
soil moulded with her gardener’s hands
a clump of roots and wilted greens
wrapped in damp newspaper

seeds filched from a garden
or lifted from the wild
tapped into a hankie slipped into her pocket
germinated in a tin lid
on the window sill

I fed, watered, mulched and coaxed
my hand’s sandpaper, nails black-rimmed
but the milk maids didn’t thrive
balloon-shapes wilting in the sun
chiding my incompetence

When she could not wield the secateurs
to prune her precious roses
or lift the spring bulbs
dead-head the daisies
Neglected cuttings, their thread-like roots
filled vegemite jars on the sill

As she lay dying I held her hand
brown speckled and papery smooth
cool as a rose petal
her nails manicured and painted pink
at the care home where she lived

The milk maids are out
their creamy skirts swinging in the breeze
among the snap dragons and kiss-me-quick
the columbines and lady’s fans
reminding me of her garden
and her hand in mine

Poem by Laura Brinson

Laura Brinson – I am a gardener and a writer. Based in Melbourne, I have had poetry and prose has appeared in issues of Regime, Social Alternatives, Vine Leaves Literary Journal and n-Scribe.