Dedicated to and pre-read by Isca.

This contains some references to Isca's works (included with her approval) as well as some "double meaning" words and "inside jokes." It's perfectly understandable, but some word choice/phrasing may seem a bit odd.

You are the shadow-spectre
painted upon these white-washed walls,
the phantasm inked on maple scrolls
grown dusty with age, the ghost that haunts
the stargazer lilies blooming in the mud.

Belladonna crawls along the woodwork
of weeping willows – their roots reach
for the sky as they strangle the morning
glories that crumble in the pre-rain gloom.
Skylarks lull crabapple trees to sleep, singing
as the dawn arises from behind a veiled fog.

There is a balcony carved from rowan
in the front yard, where we shall sit
in the dying half-light of dusk and sip
gently-steaming jasmine, and I will ask you
whether the bezoars are kept in the pantry
or beneath the floorboards, where the
water-rats cannot reach them.

Neither, you'll say.

They are stowed away in the shoebox
you always keep hidden in the backyard,
buried beneath the dirt. Your smile is soft, but
I remember that your scowl could kill the deadliest
of nightshades. I wonder how many gardens
you have withered with those thin-pressed lips.

Severus would be proud.

A/N: Severus as in Severus Snape, if you're uncertain. It's an "inside joke" (though not really a joke).