Spear lily, I’m sorry I didn’t guard you better
after your gestation in the earthy border
from the hailstones of the summer storm
brewing all these weeks of heatwave-warmth
and the hands of my young sons,
who have the gentleness of children.
I have tied your broken necks to stakes
that I shoved into the soil too late,
probably piercing your hearts; all the while
above the ground, your blooms unfurl.
I have gathered your flowers from the grass
and placed them in tear shaped vases.
When I was new-born my grandpa grew glads
and sold them, cut flowers, to England.
The regiments of bulbs that I remember
are the iris that they grew much later.
The gladioli were remembered like an in-joke
by the adults. I never knew if they were staked
or cut down before the flowers bloomed,
or if they were packed in too tight to swoon.
A growers’ greenhouse glass prevented against
thunderstorms and stalk-snapping gales.
I think my grandpa would have loved to see my
clumsy attempts at growing you, gladioli.
Naomi Marklew is a writer from Durham in the North East of England. She has recently had work appearing in Amethyst Review, -algia, streetcake magazine, Selcouth Station, Second Chance Lit and forthcoming in The Aesthetic Directory.