Flowers spotted as they flashed past the window,
Brakes applied, the car hastily parked.
Up the steps, to knock on the door.
The delayed response made her age expected.
Surprised eyes through the fly-screen.
“I’m making a recipe that needs the petals of two pink roses,
I wondered if I could use some of yours…”
A strange request, a hopeful smile from a stranger.
“Of course, dear…”
Just like that.
A fragile hand waved at the flowers.
“Take what you like”
And she followed me back down the steps,
Across the lawn.
“These were planted by my grandmother…my nan”
Nostalgia clouds bright eyes.
A rose is picked with bent fingers.
Petals pressed into my hand.
“Before this road was here…
There were just five people out here…”
We watch the cars stream past a row of houses.
“They won prizes for these roses
Up at the show,
My mum and my nan.”
Another rose picked.
More petals in my cupped hands.
Some more memories released,
Delicate hands wave to catch details.
I thank her,
With added words about florists and toxins,
A belated justification for my visit.
“Oh, I don’t use any sprays…
Neither did my nan,
Have fun, dear…”
I close the little gate behind me.
The only two roses in her garden,
Now held in my hand.
The dish is prepared,
The petals washed, chopped,
A nest of sliced rose-petal crepes,
Hold figs split like hungry bird beaks,
Sweetened with honey and wine,
From a recipe once embedded in a novel.
But this time served with another story.
About a kind old lady and her nan’s roses.
And the petals are savoured.