This is what I have to give to you:
two blistered hands and a garden undone.
Japanese beetles with soft blue shells
scuttling across leaves of azalea,
and aphids that feast on the foxglove and tickseed
you planted four summers ago.
Each Sunday, I fill my boots with soil
that I carry from your house to mine.
(I’m trying to learn how
to bear weight that’s not my own.)
I sink my fingers into the earth and
kneel among the seedlings for hours;
try hardier perennials
and start over for the fourteenth time.
One would think a green thumb
is passed down through generations but
I fail to sustain
the most basic succulent.
I admit I don’t know much but I
imagine it began like this:
you plucking out yarrow,
roots over your shoulder,
for there’d be no flower deaths
only irises come morning.
I never saw you leave the rows.
Then, one day,
we both were old;
each in our own ways.
All I remembered was
a tarp, a trowel,
a green gate, slowly closing.
Me on one side, you on the other
and a muffled sound, like earthworms digging
channels through the soil.