“Yard Work” – Sarah Maclay

Yard Work

I’ll clear the old, putrid fruit,

the carcasses of bees where oranges have fallen

and the drying turds the dogs have dropped.

I’ll sweep away the fallen avocado leaves

grown snowy with their infestations,

snip the stems of toppled flowers, toss them.

I’ll yank the hose across the grass,

turn the rusty faucet,

let the lawn moisten

to a loose, runny black.

I’ll water the rosemary

till I can smell it on my fingers.

Time to grab the trowel.

Time to dig,

to take off the gloves,

let the handle callous the palm,

fill the fingernails

with dirt.

Time to brush the trickle from the forehead.

Time to plant the bulb,

to fill the hole with loam and water,

covering the roots.

Time to join the soil to soil

until the night is jasmine

and a thickness like a scent of lilies

rises off the bed;

until the stalks of the naked ladies fall to the ground,

twisting on their roots;

until our broken fists lie blooming.

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