Not this Garden

Wendy Morton

Not the perfect beds
of love lies bleeding,
the bellflowers, heliotrope,
the poisonous foxglove.
Not a sound from the bells of Ireland
or the bee balm.
There is no wind here,
to bring the fragrance
of mirabilis, sweet rocket,
anise hyssop.


I want disorder: death, wind, storm;
need this February garden by the sea:
the fine decay of maple leaves,
their opaque tracery,
rosehips, a heartbeat in winter,
and hemlock,
catching bleached seaweed
in its branches
and the moss hanging
on the north side of everything.

I want the sea's garden on the shore:
crab legs like magnolia petals,
mussel shells that hold the sky;
a broken plate ringed with cornflowers.

From this garden I watch
the cormorant open and close
its wings like a fan,
the heron skim the shore
and the raucous geese land.

I watch for wind,
for death, for spring,
taking slow, salty breaths.