The Garden in St. Paul’s Hospital, One and Two

by | Jun 2, 2021 | Poetry

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.






Photo used under CC.

About The Author

Robert McDonald

Robert McDonald’s work has appeared previously in Columbia Poetry Review, Elsewhere, Sentence, Court Green, PANK, and Escape Into Life, among many other journals and zines. He lives in Chicago, and works at an independent bookstore.