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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