By the Way

You look like death, I say. He seems
pleased to be recognised,

and when I tell him I’m not quite ready
he shrugs and says,  I’ll wait.

In the garden his footprints scorch
the lawn like frost,

his breath dead-heads my late roses,
puts the swallows to flight.

I ponder my forwarding address, decide
there is time for a note:

 Just off. Remember to put the rubbish out,
and by the way ….

Elisabeth Rowe