She’s watched for  his return
at each day’s evening, his briefcase
stuffed as if with deermeat,
umbrella  a spent spear.
Forty years of triumphal entrances,
attentive welcomings, end in this
gift-loaded euphoric  homecoming.
Something near to fear

stirs in her. The house
has been hers throughout the core
of every day, close shelter
for her busy morning hours,
her re-creative afternoons.
Now it opens its traitor door,
switches allegiances to his clamour,
his masterfulness, his more
insistent needs. How long had she
dug, hoed and planted the suburban
flower  patch, made it colourful
and fragrant for his weekend
leisure? Now he comes in with the air
of a pioneer, as if her patient garden
were wilderness for his first
cultivation; and she’ll pretend

(habits are hard to break) when called on
to admire, that everything he grows
is magical, as if no million years
but he alone made this summer’s rose.

Pamela Gillilan.