Summer roses still flourish in our communal garden.
I had planned to hang stars from cherry branches,
cut holly for a wreath outside my door.
But you came home with me, wearing
your mother’s pink sweater. So a neighbour
helps to dig a small space where blossom never fell.
Arms heavy, I carry you out in a pillow case
reserved for special guests; not wanting
to lay you down in soft fecund earth.
Wise, he walks away. I kiss you dark head,
heap soil and lavender into a hole
the size of Venus; All the while talking as I work.
I say you were a good boy, a kneecap hitman
each morning in the bathroom. That you do not need
a star. It was under your chin at their house.
When the last sod is in place, he replants
white azalea for shade. And I go in
write Christmas cards. Meaningless words.