Mornings their garden greens and flowers,
tomatoes ripen fat as babies’ bellies,
hollyhocks tower straight-laced as fence rails.
This is not the black-topped yard of her childhood,
weedless, grassless, without tree bark or squirrel.
Here she follows behind her husband’s wild planting.
Where Adam has sown, she is Eve weeding,
creating order and the simplicity of black earth,
clean around each plant’s tuft or blossom,
important and particular. Like the tidy numbers
that track her checkbook or the organ she plays
with such precision, she sorts and arranges,
meticulous as her print on a fluted pie crust.
Tumbling back upon itself, this story with setting,
plot, and rising action begins with a scatter of water
on new flesh, pauses at the wedding altar for lovely entanglement,
leads always to the children, bright flesh prints,
and resolves around the moving point of a slender man,
her mate. Tomorrow they will rise
from their ordinary pew, front right, pulpit-side,
step carefully to the aisle, cup their hands for bread,
tip the chalice for wine, and join the narrative line
that stretches back before they were and reaches
forward, demanding blessing.
The Image archive is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.