My Mother Is a Garden

My mother is a garden, is a universe unto herself
in the eternal backyard of Baker Street.
In polka-dot halter and flannel shorts,
she bends down to tend the runner beans,
she bends down to tend to me.

A silhouette as large as any sun,
and I, small and green as a caterpillar
among the rows of strawberries.
My milk teeth bite berries red with summer,
still on the plants she said not to pick.

Always gentle with her hands, we invent galaxies
among the rhubarb and squash leaves,
a wonder of constellations among the plum
and pear and apple of the trees.

My mother is a garden, is a universe I chart my life to,
a map of stars I use to orient reality:

I am here
I am loved
I am planted

in the world you created that now grows
as a garden goes on beyond you.

She picks me up as I come running and swings me higher,
higher, into the blinding light.

 

View the painting inspired by the poem.


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