I can’t remember clearly the last time
anyone gave me flowers, but I can
count on one hand the times you did.
Example: my forty second birthday.
Supermarket blooms were a gesture, but
when you chose two stems of half-price ones
forgot to peel off the tags and red spots
what were you saying?
I was discount wife, a bargain basement
only worth this begrudged bouquet of
mostly half-dead, sour scented chrysanths
and worse, they were exactly the same shade
as Bird’s, just add water, instant custard.
Kate Noakes’ sixth collection is Paris, Stage Left (Eyewear, 2017). She is an elected member of the Welsh Academy and her website (boomslangpoetry.blogspot.com) is archived by the National Library of Wales. She lives and writes in Paris and London.