Heads of fuchsia tremble, white

and redly pendant blossoms

swaying in and out of focus

as she pretends not to watch

the stranger beyond.

Around these floral warning bells

browning leaves rustle, marking

the oncoming season; sounding

the alarm that she is not alone.

But she already knows.

Her eye is caught by a black

leaf cutter bee, landing so precise

upon his target.  With five swift moves

he carries off his quarry, the host

leaf now missing

a perfect circle of itself.

The stranger beyond is still.

Pretending not to notice, she tilts

to the side to tend the jasmine.

Pale stars its flowers, night-blooming –

is that when he will come for her?

When the moon reigns high

and this plant’s scent lingers

on darkly chill air, is that when she

will wake to find his fingers in her hair?

Hands shake in fragile begonias now –

her fear decapitates three in a row.

In shock, she looks up.

The stranger is gone.

And so, it has begun.