The Garden in St. Paul’s Hospital
Flies dance over some long-fallen plums. Could it be that I smell bread, from
somewhere, and yesterday’s rain? At least I am allowed to walk in the garden; one
garden is very much like another, I am told. If I knew the right words, if I could say these
words the right way, I could rise from this bench and step into somewhere, a field lit with
sunflowers. It’s my duty to think and not to dream, I am told. Which is not to say the
nurses have been unkind. The water they draw from the well in this garden carries a
chill tang of the mountains.
The Garden in St. Paul’s Hospital (Two)
The nurses here are kind and they make a good soup; it’s my duty to eat, and drink
water, and convince the nurses I am well. It’s not my duty to consider yellow—I have to
say this to the olive trees growing here. Not at all the brightness and the glory of yellow.
Like grandfathers, they nod, a movement so slight that only I can see it. Someday they’ll
gather me, someday they’ll gather me, into their strong and moss-stained arms.