Letting Go the Garden

Goodbye, good riddance!
I’ve tended you long enough.
My patience is worn thin,
like your scraggly cucumber vines
and withered onion stalks.

Can’t you hear the jays screech
my aggravation while goldfinch
flit behind my back and empty
each and every sunflower?
Better they devoured
your striped cucumber pests,
and ugly brown squash bugs,
not to mention,
your mating asparagus beetles
with orange shells hard as nuts.

Take heed! While geese honk
their way south, moles below
nibble holes in your squash left
too long by my growing indifference.
Better they had eaten the last
of your mishappened beans
turned to mush by cottony
mildew that billows from
your damp, autumnal soil.

Thank goodness, the crickets
in the meadow rehearse
a farewell that promises
merciful frosts
to end my stoop and bend
under the ambush of a late
heat wave germinating
misbegotten seeds and
endless weeds
on two inch stems.

Get thee gone, garden!

Today, I’d rather unbend
my weary back and
pick perfect produce
from bins overflowing
in a grocery store
so many miles away.

Then, tomorrow, I’ll pull
your shrivelled stems,
your brown and crinkled leaves.
After that, I’ll till your tired soil,
and let you disappear
under layers of snow for oh,
so many welcomed months of rest.

But wait! What is that in my mailbox,
arriving so soon, before year’s end?

Ah, a seed catalogue of atonement,
offered as a Christmas gift,
to germinate winter dreams
of sun-ripened tomatoes, cucumbers
stacked like rails on a settler’s fence,
zucchini roasted on the barbecue,
purple basil snipped onto lettuce
plucked from your compost-rich soil.

Oh, the garden! the garden!
My errant child. Come spring
I’ll forgive your vexatious ways
and, after a winter’s reprieve,
welcome you home, eyes wide open,
to make your beds, pull your weeds,
and prepare those providential feasts,
gratefully harvested once more from
your summer’s blessed abundance.

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