In Spring

I planted a garden,
which means I dug up
buckets of dirt, dug out
weeds, disturbed
the red ants.
They swarmed up
the shovel handle.

I planted a garden,
unexpectedly unearthing
a cast-iron bathtub.
The first homeowner had
buried it in the backyard.
No claw feet.
People always ask.

I planted a garden,
after doing battle
with two cactus plants
standing sentry
at the back door.
Prickly by nature,
they did not go quietly.

I planted a garden,
or at least –
I prepared the bed
for the flowers to be.
I rinsed off the shovel,
ants and dirt and blood
returning to the earth.

The Second Sunday of May

If you were here today,
to celebrate Mother’s Day,
I would plant an herb garden for you.

Come summer, you could have
the bright taste of parsley in chilled tomato soup
and quirky lemon balm in your tea
– in winter, a leaf of sage
in your favorite butternut squash.

Year to year, some of the plants,
like basil and dill,
would need to be replaced –
but who doesn’t like an excuse
to buy a new Easter dress?

Heartier herbs go round and round.
You’d always find steadfast rosemary
right where we’d put her, while sweet mint,
that gadabout, would spring up
wherever space allowed

amidst spires of pencil holly,
among the showy iris, rubbing
leaves with the sociable butterfly bush.

And versatile lavender, cool and warm,
would be heavy enough to touch you,
its scent woven into the memory of air.