A garden, a garden is my mother's body
of English rose, wisteria, and grape
twisting the trellis. Not quite of this rugged
tidal pool island, no longer of her own
Northern English seaside town,
she instead planted herself
through three daughters sprouting
from moss and rock like saplings:
Garry oak, cedar, arbutus.

Modern pioneer, trowel in hand,
she tackled the hard earth of Saanich,
the hard head of her husband,
with the same effect of water over rock,
filling every gap, smoothing the face
of flint to a pleasing surface.
Is not this kind of persuasion
more powerful than dynamite?
Certainly more healing.

And healing you know—in your bones,
in your lymph nodes. Like crimson carnations
the tumours blossomed at your throat, armpits, groin:
all the places women would strike in an attack.
The devil did you. What he wasn't expecting:
a battle to the death. His. 

Two decades later you sit in respite care, slippery
algae gluing the folds of your brain, black gaps altogether
where words once lived. What kind of garden is this,
what mysterious weeping willow pond,
what quiet place you sit in, deep within yourself.

I would meet you there and walk with you a while,
if I could. If I could reach you. This brief passing
of shade over your face will too fade away,
replaced by the light of seven suns in the fullness of day
when you step into Love and are made new, 
according to the original design of the One
whose face is now yours, as in a mirror.

Wait for me in that garden, Mummy,
for your daughter comes running to you
to dance in the prisms of your face
all alight with wonder.


December 28, 2019 — Alexandra Hunter
Tags: poetry