The map leads from bloom to wing
to sky– we followed gracefully before
black swan wings haunted our spines.
I was tangled in the garden of words
and you did not believe a thing
I said. I cowered in sagebrush
to study flying squirrels (the wingless
claim the sky). I told you I would never tell
another lie because what is truth
in an ephemeral garden, where the birdsong
of thrashers becomes language?
I attempt to look away from truth
but the truth is, nothing in this world
shocks me any more than when I crane my head
to see the nightmare we have become.
(originally published in Zany Zygote Review, Spring 2017)
You cannot gut a tomato without first
remembering the garden. The mud-rutted
fingers pulled at weeds; silver shovels spiraled
to and from the sky. The spit, the rain. It took months–
years– didn’t it, to differentiate? To grow into something
unrecognizable? You knew what this would become,
the way a person finds her own shadow
insufficient. A broken silhouette of scarecrow.
It was then I could not see you– with your bangs
of hay, the ground sprouting milkweed.
Those tired hands milled ‘til the sun had no meaning.
You wore dark clouds as a cape stained
with mud the work helped us forget.
(originally published in Ground Floor Drinkers, Summer 2017)