Once Paradise 

by Paulette Demers Turco

     response to My Happy Place by Sharmagne Leland-St. John

Beside the low, framed wall of light adobe,  
topped by a hip-high black wrought iron rail  
set with a finely-curving filigree, 
I see a fresh and fragrant, clustered array 
of roses—fuschia, coral, pink, and ruby— 
placed in an ecru vase, familiar, frail, 
and shaded by the tall banana tree. 
We couldn’t have known I’d be alone this day,
here—my promise kept to you. So, be     
with me in spirit, sip the sweet and sail 
the tropic air, suspend as visibly  
as hummingbirds at this hung feeder. Stay 
long enough beside this wicker settee 
so I can sense you on the seat with me— 
relive our touch before the tragedy.

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