pipe cradled between his hand and mouth, and listens
to his tomatoes for hours. He strings a web to support
the vines carefully knotting the joints. They leave
their scent in his jacket.
Inside the house an oil painting of ships tossing on stormy seas
at dusk, hangs on a wall their sails yellow with age, the sun
hidden by low hung clouds, heavy with the weight of grief
a thin gold line bleeds at the horizon.
But here in the greenhouse everything is in his pockets
a knife and string, a pouch of tobacco and matches.
He thinks about a mug of tea and settles for the pouch
lifts the flap and dips his pipe into dried leaves.
Later, the jacket with leather elbows and grey threads
woven in brown earth at the hem of the sleeve, will hang
by the back door like a priest’s frock
ready for service.