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GLADIOLI
 

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.