GARDEN JOURNAL

APRIL 2011

Ongoing war, the spring campaign
to save the seedlings – more cotyledons
felled atop the soft, damp ridge
of well-worked soil under last night’s moon,
new cucumbers grown pale and limp –
heavy little hands curl helplessly
in gray light. With war chants, you shake
the last of the bird-friendly, thirty-dollar jug
of Sluggo into the yellow Iris spears,
abbreviated epithets slung with another
shell upon the ground    sure underfoot.
Combing rake-like, your fingers drag
through broad green leaves, looking
for the enemy and pink casualties to save –
strawberries hollowed before ripe. Even
the volunteer Sunflowers have been attacked.

The garden,
                our ticket to postponing town,
exhales, exasperates new law –
                I imagine the machete
                clinched between my rounded crowns,
air thick as battle smoke,
as every living thing knows, even
the oriole, brightly singing for a mate
to help weave and sling a sock nest
in the Palo Verde near the cherry tree,
can feel the uneasy certainty of a new régime.

We sharecrop our cultivated world
of few straight rows, snow peas reaching
beyond support to bloom and drip
from a round and rusty water trough,
potatoes in another, as asparagus dares to bolt.
Drawn from leafy cover to pie pans of beer,
we entertain the snails, and ourselves
with red wine glee, lopsided shells too heavy
to slime a straight line to dark safety.

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