My emerald legions, how tall you have grown:
so many. With what supernatural speed
you overlord the weakest in the garden—
frizzled hydrangeas, sere mint, sun-starved basil.
Tousle-headed, you can see the sky
above the cowering, defeated plots.
This is your day of triumph: Eager sugars
rise up through your ramifying stalks.
And I allowed it. My cool inattention
found good reasons to look the other way,
since all that grows is good, or so I thought.
How soon would height recall high thoughts, and yet,
if I uproot you now, how I would miss you.
Sweet knotgrass, heartsick briar, purple thistle.
Even tilled up, the garden wouldn’t be
as it was when I played here years ago
and my grandmother warned me, since I’d gotten
lanky, not to grow too fast. She lived
to be a hundred, early years wiped clean
from her memory, all except for this:
a vague lightness, as though a sense of wings
lifted her above the loamy ground,
and all she thought of, as the wind upheld her,
was of falling, how tenuous her flight.
Or so I imagine. Though half her age,
I, too, can’t quite remember what it was like
to feel light-footed, open to the sun,
without the clogging stems elbowing out
what I had meant when I first planted here:
larkspur, geraniums, cilantro, lime.
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