After he says, this isn't about you,
she flicks away his hand, concentrates
on the small potted vine, an upper leaf.
She waits for the rest of the words,
for the yellow to creep down
leaf by leaf, the stems to wither.
The overhead light fixture, unable
to bear silence, moves outside, hangs
luminescent in the winter chokecherry bush.
Touch, move, leave, none of this is
personal. The crushed space between them
smells of mustard gas. She digs a trench.
—First appeared in Whistling Shade, 2005
At fifteen, I might have ignored the boy
from the Arab quarter who sold fresh figs,
tear-shapes in soft gold skin, small enough
to fit a young girl's palm. I might have
heeded my mother's warning
how Eve, eyes open to her nakedness,
wore an apron of fig leaves. But
the close of summer sent me back
to eat from the boy's hand,
sink teeth into sweet, pink pulp, seeds
blushed red. At dusk, outside the garden gate,
our mouths flowered, reclaimed grace.
—First appeared in The Pedestal #27, 2005
Louisa Howerow’s poetry has appeared online and in numerous journals and small press magazines in Canada, England and the United States.