At Summer’s End by Elizabeth Gauffreau

North of Oxford

rose-hip-bush use jpg
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At Summer’s End
.
We come upon a bank of beach roses
High above Portsmouth Harbor, rose hips
Unexpectedly signaling the end
Of summer. I stop to take a photograph
Crop tight the crimson ellipsis
Crop tight the leafy green symmetry.
.
In my memory
The fruit is smaller, rounder
The bushes a low sprawl
Of dusty leaves where sand meets road
Above Hannaford Cove, cold sweat
Of exposed water pipe beneath my bare feet.
.
From somewhere behind me
My mother says, Aunt Etta
Gathered rose hips to make jelly. Aunt Etta
Was my grandmother’s aunt.
.
In her memory
My mother is pregnant
The summer Aunt Etta
Comes to stay at the cottage
High above Hannaford Cove.
.
Through dormered window
She watches bemused
As the small stooped figure
Moves among the dusty bushes
Easing the rose hips off their stems.
.
In her memory at cliff’s…

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