Your Garden


Eric Gansworth

It is a wonder,
you did not grow
tired planting seed after
seed only to see
them not germinate
fall to rot, slugs and worms
in soil not ready or willing
enough to be receptive:

those sophisticated beds of notes
in combination and orchestration
at the hands of masters dissolved
and ground down in favor of three
chord power pop, music in its most
simple and uninteresting forms, thick
weeds of bombastic progression;

a trench coat and blazer
cultivated and woven perfect left to
turn fallow behind the dandelion brashness
of callused cowhide, scraped until it
gleamed with drama the animal
world never intended, adorned with metal
in case the leather itself did not draw
enough attention.

But, that day you opened
the door to Talking Leaves Book
Sellers on Main Street in Buffalo--
that city itself a remote and exotic
impression on my reservation
mind--you tilled my brain
so fresh that gulls swooped
in to examine the furrows
for what might be lurking
in that dense mess
at that point so overgrown
with Stephen King and nothing
else, that the birds rose all
noise and fury at the emptiness
while you stood, and sweated
as only you have been willing
to do, ignoring the dark circles
of strain this causes you,
planting words I had
never even imagined.

Books, real books
in neat lines, so many
I nearly froze among
the orderly rows not knowing
which way I should turn
to face this new found sun
burning all around me, but again
there you walked, moving purposefully
over titles and names, letters
strung together on spines, picking
them from their places among
the others and smiling, moved on
your harvest a feast set before
my starving eyes.

Stranger in a Strange Land
More Than Human

Support, pollination, fiction
beyond the real but grounded
solid, allowing for that new
direction, spreading farther
than the bounds of my experience.

Were you relieved when after waiting
and waiting for what must have seemed
like endless drought years, those first
letters sprouted from my fingertips
tentative, misshapen, poorly
formed but there, just the same?

Being the expert gardener you are
you gently pinched off gangly
sentences begging to be trimmed
and pruned, tied dangling participles
neatly back, provided nourishment
and attention, and waited even longer
than any gardener should have a mind to
and I have to wonder, after all this time,
as I sit here now, and you are exploring another
uncultivated garden, if you have found this
field all worthwhile,
your sunset harvest.

© 2001 Eric Gansworth

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