Monday, November 29, 2021





In the garden there grows an argument

beneath the apples, apocalyptic

hydrangeas exploding into blue fumes,

roses ripe as a picked-at scab,

the salt-studded path burbling

with snails’ fresh foam.


In the garden there it grows,

behind the toolshed, between

the tines of the rustled rake, the mucked

wheelbarrow, the brown thick of the shovel,

the garden’s profusion of chokecherries,

raspberries, amid the ground’s sullied gold.


In the garden, a home to worm and bone,

beetle hulls, chassis of vehicles protruding

from the mulch, busts and torsos

marbling in the sun, and shining,

wheat chafing the thighs of those who rise here—

whole groves of us breaking the soil, cracking beneath the sun.


In the garden we grow, impertinent weeds,

whistling reeds, diseased trunks, a whole litany

of assertions; electric poles tilting, telephone wires

wringing silence from the clearing, reawakening

the chiming and chirruping birds, the sunflowers

performing their yellow mysteries.


In the garden, a blunt elbow, an artist’s wrist,

a pubic bone, a rush of hair, a globe

glistening on the dismissed surface,

leaves greening and unrolling their deep need.

What goes to seed in this holy erasure

grows, the burning bush extinguished.


In the garden, this awe, this expectation

of rough beauty, this supple white hope, raw

and clinking in the air, the tossed coin’s messy

aspirations; this disaster, a revival;

the gloss and sheen of love like vaseline, lubricating our fall.


Cati Porter is the author of eight books and chapbooks, most recently, The Body at a Loss (CavanKerry Press, 2019). She lives in Riverside, California, with her family where she runs Poemeleon: A Journal of Poetry and directs Inlandia Institute, a literary nonprofit. 



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