Espaliered tree

Winter Garden

"A Midwestern garden rests, lies dormant, forgets itself:  stalks cut to ground, pond covered in netting to catch clogging leaves, fish nearly frozen below, sap withdrawn, branch and stem cut to the quick, to the nearly dead.  Winter is the test of time and hope."
          --Judith McKenzie, Off Season

Old man, walk the botanical garden, cold.
Shivered bone, white sycamore branch,
stiff leg, crack-creak knee, ankle,
breath rasp and leaf scuttle.
Starkness—trees skeletons of trees,
bushes disheveled webs, silhouetted branch,
lush hosta wilted litter, vines rotting
twine, nothing-held, death-cling
to trellis, pole, stake.
Starkness—the real garden, the idea of garden,
the brown pruned fist of sticks thinks lush, green
budding, flowering red hibiscus dinner plate. 
Heart beats unseen life, weak sun, diluted shadow
of grass rust, bamboo khaki, frozen mums faded,
pressed flowers, an old bachelor’s Bible, buttoned,
psalms blooming, book buried, root, bud, tuber, seed.
Old man, walk dark, solstice-short horizons.
Learn time, test hope.

"Winter Garden" first appeared in Stone Highway


Hand scattering ashes

Rose tattoo


Redbud leaf

Flower on walk

Crumpled newspaper

Flowers in flats

Strawberry blossoms

Cut stalks

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