Sunday, September 18, 2016

What rain is for

The last three summers, as she recalls them, 
Her heavy-clay bit of earth opened hexagonally;
Into the depths she stared, seeing dry darkness
So desiccated, she fancied worms and millipedes

In despair had decamped, seeking other worlds.
She poked at crevasses with her stick, finding bottom

Well deeper than twelve inches. Not knowing
How to garden in any but a rain forest, she
Attacked books and websites for some scheme
The budget could be stretched for: shade cloths,

Raised beds, huge-log hugelkulturs, keyhole beds.
All were possible, but her hands, old, worked
In fits and starts; her money allocated elsewhere.
Now she startles, looking at her night sky, so steeped

In stars all summer, finding it black and close.
Some drops, like bad boys' spitballs, carom off her 

Face. More, and now she's happily drenched in her
Old nightgown, dancing slow circles. Autumn proves
Real at last. This dance is what rain is for.

Friday, September 2, 2016

See it through

One should not have an orchard and
Not care for it; so she tries,
Even lurches from the depths of a chair

She's found at some thrift, pre-softened; from
Her house, warm or cool as she might wish,
Out into too much sun or too much rain; from
Under the kind roof of a porch she'd built,
Leaving tool after tool there to gather
Dust and webs, marks of a new will to

Neglect. Beyond the weed-bent fence, an
Orchard of sorts awaits her care, each
Task having skipped two years at least. 

Hands grasp lopper and saw. She visits
Apple, quince, pear, plum, cherry, clipping
Vines, tall weeds, watersprouts, suckers;
Even designates branches for her stove.

As the forenoon warms, she strips off
Now her hat, next jacket, shirt and gloves,

Old skin offered to thorns, thistles, 
Rough bark. Really she'd meant to hire it done, 
Children of neighbors being short on cash.
Habit, she could call it. Habit, and the way
Apples come best that see right sun,
Ripe enough to pay her for some pains.
Do a thing yourself to see it through.