Why I Garden
What force is it that
pushes upward from the pod,
believing in foliage, flower, and fruit,
believing that this year
perfection will be reached?
I’m not stupid.
I can remember that every August
my vegetables sprawl on the ground, faint
with fecundity and offended
by the mob that has invaded the garden.
Weeds park their jalopies on the beds
and spread out picnics,
shout to neighbors, litter and let
their kids run wild, no matter how I chase them
with fork and hoe.
But every April the bare brown earth
tempts me to a dream of perfection. This year
tomatoes will be ballroom dancers embracing their supports,
instead of wrestlers pinning strangled,
mangled cages to the mat of mulch beneath.
Onions, groomed and dignified, will march
up their rows toward the continent zucchinis, who produce
no vulgar excess to bundle and abandon at night
on neighbors’ doorsteps.
All is order, beauty; I can sit here and rest.
I remember August, but
if in April I believed my memories,
I would never plant again.
This dream of perfection sprouting every year
from the hard shell of disappointments,
this power pushing from the seed,
is the undying force of life itself:
this is hope.