Flag Irises

At last we found the vintage Reo by
a ruined house beneath a spur that dimmed
the landscape where it thrust across the sky
and brooded westward, braced against the wind.
The house stood roofless, dead and empty eyed
in mountainshadow-grey except where thin,
spur- sharpened shafts of morning sunlight blazed
through swaying beds of iris flowers and glazed
cracked walls which let faint, flag-flecked shadows in.

I wondered, as I sheltered by a wall,
what kind of woman changed this windswept scarp
into a home. Did she arrive with all
the joy youth brings, live fully, and depart
in constant love? Or had she gone toil-galled
and gaunt? Where did she lie at last? Dark hearths
and sky-lit rooms can’t tell. I only know
she must have loved those irises that blow
each spring and bring her living epitaphs.

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