That first autumn our home was ugly with dust;
infuriating with boxes, planks,
buckets we used to flush the loo.
We had no curtains.

Bed-level, you couldn’t see the building site.
We’d wake to a square of tree against sky —
leaves yellow as Pasteis de Nata;
dawn-lit paper lanterns.

On one branch a caught plastic-bag breathed;
on another pigeons, still trying to nap,
kept themselves tucked in —
plump grey jugs.
A great-tit would jiggle, head tilted
as though in understanding.

And below, of course, roots were gagging the drains,
graffiti-ing lightning on walls,
teasing cracks for rats,

and we knew, come New Year, the trees had to be felled —
just as we had to plaster, scrub, paint,
rewire, maintain, move on…

But still, each day you’d wake up
to those glowing tatters and smile.
Say: the tree looks lovelier every day.
And I’d nod, and push thoughts of winter away,
as all lovers must refuse the thought of winter.