Written March 19, 2017
I worked in a flower shop,
tossing faded blooms and arranging
new ones with pollen stained fingers.
Stabbing tiger and stargazer lily stems
into wet sponge.
When I went to the cafe upstairs for a coffee
one day a girl who worked there
as I was taking a fiver out of my purse and
handing it to her asked me what
was on my hands and I told her.
The pollen from the lilies.
It was orange and had stained the skin
between my fingers.
The next year she died in her car.
A dangerous driver forced her
off a high winding road on the way to Leek.
She was a bit younger than me although
we were in similar circles
going to the Gaslight nightclub
the only club in town
only she had dated Ryan Giggs I think
and I had watched him play footy on TV.
They did not catch the driver,
a reckless woman in a red car
who didn’t stop to make amends
at the scene that she caused.
The day of the pollen conversation
while we were closing shop
The flower shop owner told me
as he dug for his keys in his brown satchel,
He was driving home last evening
on a quiet lane towards Manchester
when a ghost appeared
near the turnoff to the old quarry.
He stopped the car where it was without pulling over,
his headlights pooling their yellow light on the roadway.
It seemed not vengeful in any way, he said
as if it only wanted to be witnessed.
He sat there until the figure disappeared and then
started up his car.
I asked him if he believed in ghosts
as he locked the shop’s door.
He shook his head and smoothing
his white dress shirt under his jacket
said he did not.
By Wendy Stewart