Roses losing petals, lotuses dying on their shadow, a poisonous sumac inflamed, the promised turtle missing, but the persimmon tree pregnant, the spider lily swinging; I pick anise seeds and drink on the scent, pinch tips of dew studded mint, and then stumble on frog stones their absent eyes on summer flies–the water striders have long leaped to infinity–it’s autumn at Brooklyn Botanical Gardens, and after tracing the veins of a horse I figure a ficus has turned into from a knight on a horse by a fairy enchanted by his beauty, E and I skip the desert garden breathing heat off a muggy afternoon.
We pass by the Cranford Rose Garden again where I had posed beside a bronze sculpture titled Roses of Yesterday–this wisp of a woman ripened by love and longing sluiced by it in fluid lines. On her left arm, she cradles a clock’s face Time arrested engraved in words Perennis Amour (Love Eternal); on her right as if bidden, she caresses a bunch of roses that drip as if tears from her deep sad eyes. I had posed unabashed beside her, tainting the poetic moment, which I should have sipped in secret.
No perfume quaffs through the air even as we linger to hold on to each bloom thrusting petals on us for a touch. The gray sky stands by unconcerned as we lean toward a curved path to the main gate. Silence and distant chatter drop on my steps and a stirring in the yew branch. A robin has flit from it. The meadow ends and I shake off a leaf from my shoulders to find another leaf that has hitched a ride in a fold of my hood as we boarded the No. 1 train. It must have been the closed-in faces, the inward smiles, the inner rhymes I imagined beat in time with steel grating on steel and soon the scream of brakes that bid us to pour out of the steel doors even as we tighten our grip on moments we can’t soon recall that this haiku wrote itself–not about the roses or the absent turtle but a fleeting glimpse of
skittering on fallen leaves
our grip tightens
© 2022 Alegria Imperial
Bio: A former journalist in the Philippines, Alegria graduated with a degree of Literature in Journalism. Her discovery of haiku decades later, started her writing short Japanese poetry forms. Her works have since been widely published in international journals and anthologies with some gaining awards. Her three e-chapbook collections of contemporary haiku and monoku (one-line) can be accessed at The Haiku Foundation’s Digital Library. She immigrated to Canada 14 years ago, where she now lives.