You emerge from the garden
smelling of soap &
as package proclaims.
You came from the city,
urbane & affected,
a child of another era
lacking proper causes
to serve in heartfelt protest.
So you took the easy path:
less-traveled, who can say?
Your brother calls it
surrender to suburbia.
You wear a convincing smile
with that sundress.
In this place of grazing deer
& lurking ticks, you learn
names of plants & trees,
the fauna who trespass
their usurped environs,
singing to the moon of
older, better times
nightly, without hesitation.
Their history is not yours to share.
Your story is to subvert & deny,
bury your real self beneath
these mounds of rich, fertile soil,
in planters that show colorful array
of sun-drenched seasonal excuses.
It looks welcoming. It invites
compliments, comments on
verdant digits, a quiet appreciation
of nature as savior, sprouting
beauty at every turn.
But you know it’s a lie.
This resplendence of pink, yellow, & white
is asking red questions. You water them
to silence uncertainties, quell
inner lightning & fire reflected
in these variegated fronds.
As each variety blooms in turn,
you turn away, goddess weeping
for spells not cast, mortal mistakes,
penance observed & plucked when ripe
in harvest of realization.
You become stranger to yourself,
weathered by time & compromise.
The mirror offers no solace,
only your eyes show evidence
of seeds, spark from an age
before you threw in the trowel.
Heart wars with mind now.
You search for ripe magnificence
of caring, of compassion,
when fawn teeters on untried limbs,
stumbling toward grace.
It was you once, kneeling in the grass,
enraged by ideas, dreaming of
revolution & restitution,
kernels of truth germinating
in green blades
bending to wind.
You turn the soil slowly,
stirring up landscape,
ignoring the immensity
of wasted potential,
seeds never planted,
for there’s always a season ahead,
chances to realize youthful promises
beyond restoring lawn & order.
I unpack the suitcase of your absence with care,
an act of dissolution, ablation, penance, rotation.
Once this world teemed with a million you,
now the sun’s bleak stare raises an eyebrow,
questioning my every move, clambering along
hallways & byways trying to escape memories:
ceilings we ignored, mirrors that opened
to our happiness, the fleeting contentment of
our conjoining, distant sounds of lilting laughter.
I awake to new universe, cold & forgotten,
unfamiliar, unknown. Points of light dance
in deep shadow, mocking movements of
former grace, now stilted & forced,
a song without lyrics, a cloud of empty aims.
One compartment for excuses, another for alibis.
Yet there’s no stopping those who shall judge,
offer up false knowledge, opined & orated,
charlatan tonics that cure nothing at all.
The ice melts my anger, & I am left
sipping thoughts like marrow, wishing for
before, trading reflections for affection,
sorting through the lack & lachrymose,
item by item, putting it all away.