Marked cards and letters, filling the top drawer, in a gleaming butler’s desk. Two long years, correspondence, and poems and notes of love and want.

He remembered the gate to her front door, through the garden, through the lavender, rosemary and basil, the scent immaculate, just like the scent in the top drawer, tainted letters with perfume, Chanel No.5, Madame Rochas and Style.

Now in poor health, at St Augustine’s, his ward, peaceful and serene.

His memories have become shadows on a wall, with broken shapes and blurred objects, that only the dying eye can see. Hallucinations of his time in the barracks, the stepping out parade, and how beautiful she was.

His passing imminent.

a frail skeleton,
and a broken mind and soul,
now, the last rites.