Gardening (a poem)

3 Mar

I’m working on an evil scheme that will culminate in the publication of a collection of poems by yours truly, illustrated in pictures and music by people I love and admire.  As of now, it’s called One Poem, One Friend: a picture book by you and me and will an Artistic License project. It’ll be a while before I really get cracking on it, since I’m currently tied up with a separate project of Artistic License, which will pair visual artists, high school students and individuals with Alzheimer’s together to create work for a gallery opening this summer. So until that’s finished, and I’ve given the involved artists, many of whom I’ll also want to contribute to the book, enough time to want to create something for me again, I’m concentrating on writing, making sure I have enough poems I’m proud of.  Here’s one I wrote recently.


I thought I was fine with my

flesh dissolving in the bellies of worms,

of living again in the root of an onion

that never knew my name.

But what when you go first,

when it’s your flesh, your worms, your onion?

Will I start to believe in a garden above

with a wrought iron bench where you’ll

wait for me in a long white robe, letting

your beard grow out so our first kiss

in the afterlife will scratch my cheeks,

or will I spend the rest of my days

in a wide-brimmed hat, hands in the dirt,

careful not to pierce with my spade

the wriggling creatures who might carry you with them,

digging up onions, peeling them layer by layer

and looking for a trace of your cheekbones?

photo by (and poem for) Shawn Poynter


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