Poem #15: We Had Two Gardens

It was enough, the wild asparagus growing outside the fence,
unconditionally for the entire family, but only
my parents would eat it. I would pretend to wield dry tiger lily
stalks as rapiers, pretend that our property extended
beyond the painted stakes.
When everything was growing, I would feel claustrophobic
never venturing out of the backyard, smaller than the leaves
that walked with me in their own winds.
The forsythia behind the travel trailer, still and warm,
like a sulfur bush fondling its half-life, soon
as summer ceases.
Two gardens that my mother never found satisfaction,
uncovering wild myrtle from the woods between our house
and the neighbor’s, tangled in leaves from last year
and leaves from years before my birth.
The world within our meager acres enough to
frighten our mother to bits if she couldn’t see us.
As a child I never knew whether to stop my dog from tearing
up my mother’s flower garden, or laugh from a hidden distance,
and wait for the screen door to slam,
scrambling through the garage and into the front yard,
eavesdropping my dog getting “a talking to.”
I couldn’t keep the gaze of a flower,
not even the tallest tiger lilies, still higher
than the tape measure my dad would seasonally determine my growth by,
not the tiger lilies, like children’s finger paint, the
infant hands reaching towards curiosity and its excavation.

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