The ground is dry as I dig down to the roots of the oak tree. I place your necklace, my hair and the heart of a pig into the hollow, and smooth it over with dirt.
I’m not a superstitious man. I never used to be a superstitious man.
I took time off.
I came to my parent’s Cornish cottage. I tended flowers in the garden, made nooses from twine to keep the beans growing upright while my spirit sagged and crumpled.
I tried to see hope in the spiralling of the swallows, in the crocuses and the daffodils. Night smothered it, like heavy black boots on saplings.
I am a city man. I used to be a city man.
I don’t know what I’m doing here.
I dreamt that you’d returned, as a tree. I wrapped my arms around the knots and curves of the trunk. I thought of your hair, falling down your spine, in coils and waves. Butterflies and ladybirds settled on you. I could hear your laughter in the rustle of the leaves, trapped, as if at the back of a grate.
You were the pagan, I was the puritan. You left mascara on the sheets, I arranged our DVDs. You kept silver nail varnish in the fridge, for your toes. I ironed my collars. Opposites, who made a whole.
The children dance around the maypole, with flowers in their hair.
A festival of fire, fertility, of re-birth, new life.
I know that you’re never coming back, that you’re part of the earth; that you can’t come back.
But maybe I can.
I light the sticks around the tree. This predates Christianity, predates all that I was told.
I never went to Church; I was never a religious man.
If this doesn’t work, there’s nothing.