I’m looking through a lattice of magnolia 

not yet ready to blow open its thousand furring buds—
every year the same urgency—same innocence—

on an anniversary serious enough for champagne
and a room with mullioned windows—the view outside

is a frosted field—scattered sheep as stones—a sketch
of lawn—bare border stuck with seed pods—skeletons

of trees clawing the orange sky—we reinvent a dream—
let’s come back in the summer/next year/every year—

same artlessness, same ignorance—then in the restaurant
torched with beauty and extravagance—another couple

their bodies arranged in grey-faced quiet—nearly
prompt me to comment—but in a few weeks’ time

when my sister’s body is ash—we’ll have gone for good
and the blossom will be out—you smile as if you know—



Robin Houghton is the author of four poetry pamphlets including Why? And Other Questions (Live Canon, 2020). She co-hosts the podcast Planet Poetry. Her first full collection, The Mayday Diaries, is forthcoming from Pindrop Press in 2024. robinhoughtonpoetry.co.uk