|Flicker Photos: Creators Dream|
I thought the work was going pretty well.
those yellow hybrids that bloom all season,
you’d never know they live for just one day.
It’s the old herb garden we built back then,
to retain the slope. Weather-gray wall stones
have grown a green coat of lichen and moss,
since we moved away and have now returned.
It was that unmistakable slither,
the slippery slide – the flickering tongue.
Instinctively, I froze as our eyes met.
He’s been here all along – the garden’s his…
No! Mine! Even that wall you hide behind;
those chives I planted forty years ago,
the tansy, bee balm, pink oregano –
the tough survivors that have laughed at you.
I felt we’d made a pact, created truce,
believing I could conquer an old fear.
The garden needed tending, and I knew
that I would never raise a hand to him.
Next morning, when the sun had risen high,
I leaned across the gate-leg table top,
where blinding light sparked off the pewter cups,
and looked into the garden down below.
I wasn’t sure at first just what I saw -
but sickened as the vision cleared for me;
two snakes in battle for a helpless toad
with fangs sunk deep and writhing round the rose.
When horror of it faded from my mind,
I pondered retribution for that death:
cruel execution – or communion,
in consumption of another creature …
So many thoughts and questions with no end –
wind on like long black roads with yellow lines;
circles twining back to the beginning,
when all the digging seemed to go so well.
to read many more poems.