You don't exist for her,
Slouching in shadow,
Watching your
Sometimes lover,
As she sits,
Crosslegged
Sorting lavender
In her attic
On the wooden floor,
The late June sun
Burning through
The skylight -
Bundles of drying herbs
Hanging overhead.
(But you don't care.)

Your mother smelled
Of this genteel flower,
Consumption
Devouring
Her frail body.
One night
You freed her
From the burning;
Her blood
Forbidden wine-
Returning as a
Stranger,
To end in
Lavender
Scented dust.

Riding Drusilla
In the fields of
Provence,
Lavender scent
Rising as incense,
In the sultry twilight.
Passion lost
To memory.
You set the fields
Ablaze,
Laughing, naked
As the blossoms
Flamed red against
The purple sky,
Pretending to forget.

Here it is
Once more:
Lavender and
Consumption's heat
This time in your
Lover's attic.
Without a word,
You walk downstairs
And in the shadows
Of her dark cellar
You smoke one,
After another;
Your past
Embracing you
Yet again.


Note 1: Spike and lavender? Of course! Lavender and Victorians/Edwardians are inextricably bound together- his mother and Queen Victoria would have been mad for the stuff as a room freshener, linen preservative and personal body scent. Why? England was once the producer of the world's finest lavender until the fields were replaced housing developments. Provence, France, became the top producer of fine lavender, replacing England in the 20s and 30s, which is why the third verse doesn't happen in rural England.

Note 2: Consumption was the common name for Tuburculosis (TB) in William's day; so called because the disease seemed to "consume" the victim from the inside out, with sudden high fevers and damaged, bleeding lungs, leaving the victim weak and thin while taking years to kill them. William, had he been real, was doubtlessly already in the early stages of TB himself thanks to his close proximity to his mother.