It’s not even large as sunflowers
go, and the leaves droop with beetles,
but it’s been a long summer, and to wake
finally in August to a flower the size
of a pie plate rising like a lamp post
over the garden seems a reward.
Across the street the neighbor’s
flower heads stretch toward morning
like they’re looking down the driveway,
but he was carried out with a sheet
pulled over his face last spring.
Now his children empty the house
bit by bit every weekend.
At night deer and groundhogs
ravage my tomatoes and beans
but the squash vines sprouted
from winter dinner leftovers reach
from mulch pit to the neighbor’s
house with no sign of stopping.
It’s easy to leap from garden
to metaphor, like crossing
a bridge from one small town
to the next. It’s not a choice
over what happens. You plant
and watch things grow. You drive
and get where the road takes you.
Sometimes you wake to rain,
and sometimes yellow petals
still damp with dew on a humid
morning can mean everything,
no matter what everything means.