Storm Garden

The ground was dry and unrepentant
against her garden boots,
which is why surprise replied
to the sudden appearance of a tiny shoot
with two green palms turned upward
beside her foot.

To the little plant’s demanding silence
she acquiesced with water,
a crystal mist slipping into dust
(for this is what we do, designated hosts
to green and growing things)

and in an instant seedlings hurtled
toward her hands, a leaping spiral
dyed with new green. Cells dividing at lightning speed
sheathed tender stems in armor, split branching fingers
like daytime fireworks. She could feel the soil tremble
as roots ran rampant and buds generated like viruses,
camellias bursting like hard-packed snowballs shattering
against the air. A larkspur struggled
against black rubber sole.
Hydrangeas ballooned in mushroom clouds
and sweet alyssum ran between snapdragons
springing from green shells to breathe fire.

It was all of springtime at once in the small confines
of a plain little yard where she stood rooted,
overtaken by the circus surge of life

and knowing that she must stay still
to stay alive, waiting
for the circumlocution of storms,
for eventual frost to creep at last
into the final stem
and return it all to quiet earth ―

but for now just a witness, a stone gnome
overgrown by her own home, a cartographer
in a feral topography, a botanist of wrath
in the rapturous landscape of fury.

10

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