Audience of One


This is the work of the hands and knees.
There is no joy in it, only heart
at keeping things clean, discreet.
Although the sun is lurking in the clouds,
at noon, the ultraviolet still burns through—
and yet, it's dark and cool enough for this.

Here there are two histories
above the soil. Gaps in the grass
of years gradually, continuously
fill with the perennial green, the mosaic
refiguring with each new vicissitude.
The arbitrary demarcation of garden
becomes obliterated from neglect,
a wet year and reproductive pressure:
the erosions of peace bring this war.

Like green's impossible green after-image,
spurs of grass encroach in the nasturtium
and daylily beds. No force of culling
the sheathed leaves or seed-spike stems
repudiates its rhizomes' claim there.
The wild still wells in it.

Working like religion: the stoop and bow,
bruised knees and eyesight failing
at near-focus, the thrust and grasp
and tug and toss: like genuflect,
we seek our redemption in clods,
with dirty nails and sweat-smutted brow,
like a last confession or christening.

Here so close to the substratum:
flowers in the grass
and grass in the flowers...
there will never be an end to it:
the irony. Perhaps,
the question it poses is an aesthetic one.

Kevin Cornwall © All rights reserved.

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