March 23 2017
A Garden Triptych
The Garden of Eden is inherently exclusionary, you know.
God is an anxious landlord, concerned about land value;
For heaven’s sake, it was only an apple.
Once you’ve been kicked out of Eden, what kinds of gardens do you grow?
I heard through the grapevine that Adam and Eve
started a community garden, areas measured out,
each plot with its own tiny shed.
It’s amazing how many people you can feed when you work together.
But listen. The story that broke my heart this week is of the black mother whose son was killed by a cop car, plowed into him it did, pinned him under where his blood drained into an early spring garden redolent of onions. Look. Some gardens are watered with blood.
My son joked today that Hieronymus Bosch’s paintings
are too focused, too simple, too black-and-white.
I laughed, The Garden of Earthly Delights in my mind,
The panels’ shift from morning to night drawing
too many temptations, too many delights and colors, all turning sinister:
the joys of nudity and people-sized berries turning to volcanic horizons and
impaled by what once brought dancing.
In my backyard, the green onions shoot through the earth hardened by a long
What do we do when what nurtures us kills? When my spring is your death?
I refuse to let my tears water the earth.
Instead I will measure plots.