A Tour of My Happy Place

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I am a lousy gardener

that only offends

the soil on top and below.

 

No Petunias or Marigolds bloom,

only crab grass struggling with

Tennessee moss, and a small patch

of Kentucky Bluegrass the

survivor of almost fifty years

and two previous owners:

 

a general practitioner who

layered the inner sod of

the old colonial with

trip wires, alarms, sirens

and intercoms still being

discovered

 

and a Methodist preacher

who cultivated a lawn

of thin earth carpet over

the cheap yellow vinyl

and parquet in the basement—

adding two bedrooms and a shower

for any charitable cases

or needy parishioners.

 

My lawn is left to hell,

the house, gifted to heaven

and the loving attention

of my wife who fills

this abode with the aromas

of her favorite foods

cooking in the oven.

 

The inside is built

on good bones and wood—

a sturdy brick foundation

and oak floors with

a comforting squeak,

sanded and polished

to their original shine.

 

My chihuahua takes great

delight in slipping on them

when she plays fetch.

 

Outside nature riots

in unmolested happiness.

 

Twenty oaks and a few evergreens

defend the spaces of my half acre.

The most majestic one

leans like a hunchback

crying over the stump

of its dead brother below.

 

My trees are allowed to be real trees,

uncultivated, untrimmed, undominated

plus one-hundred-year-old sovereigns.

I respect my vegetable elders.

 

During the spring and summer

the lawn is mowed every other week

to keep my neighbors happy.

 

Five Chipmunk dens burrowed in the clay

provide rooting and hunting

opportunities for my chi,

as the two good boys before,

now scampering

around the rainbow bridge.

 

A black and white stray tabby

has taken up residence on my porch—

sunning in the afternoon,

snoozing in the corner column at night.

He scatters at light and first witness,

his existence a blur captured

on the Ring.

 

Just above is the nest

of our perennial swallows,

real snowbirds I have

no fondness to evict.

The Ring also captures

their welcome and farewell.

 

This dear green acre

has lasted longer

than my happiness.

 

It has the patience

to wait beyond

my grief, disease

and eventual death,

beyond the lease

of all its human tenants

to reclaim its proper heritage.

 

I am so small

to such big things.

We are so small

to such big things.

 

This verdant kingdom

will not shrink back,

wither or expurgate.

 

It will insist on being loved

and watch mine and your colors rust,

for it is beyond discrimination,

consciousness and self-reproach.

 

It will mock you and me

as our fingers dig

down hard into the clay

and grow nothing

that hasn’t existed eons before.

 

It will live alongside

mine and our

happiness and misery,

dropping seeds,

rooting, always blossoming

beyond the violent light.