My god, she says I don’t know what possesses you
to say such things. I don’t what you’re thinking.
She doesn’t really want to know any more
then she wants to know what makes the wind
whip lawn clippings and thistle-down
into the wet November air to stick on her new car
or why winter muscles its way into the little vegetable garden
I planted last spring and then ignored all summer
and into late fall, leaving its rows of over-ripe carrots
and radishes crowded together underground
like commuters on a stalled subway train, the blasted stalks
and leaves turning dry and brittle, perhaps a few potatoes
salvageable, buried in the cold black dirt
like the soul of an old woman that rests
pure and luminous within her ruined body.
It’s her impatience with me that makes her cross,
here in the parking lot of Whole Foods
where we have gone to buy certified organic broccoli
and asparagus, her salted almonds and her ice cream,
and eggs to boil. I’m adrift, she’s afraid,
into the early stages of retirement, faltering
into a scramble of old jokes and annoying habits, stories
repeated, that she’s going to have to deal with.
I could go out one afternoon this week
while she’s at work, and dig up those few potatoes,
and see if anything can be done with the carrots
and radishes, what I can yet make of them. But I won’t.
Spring, summer and now the season of corruption and rot
is the order of things; whatever is spoiled, what’s left-over,
ashes, debris, rubble, dross, whatever remains.
Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 23, Issue 4.
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