A Gardener’s Note

by John Grey

Artist: Leigh Skomal

I fertilize my garden with coffee grounds and eggshells.
I bury them gently, like dead birds. This enhances the soil
with nitrogen, calcium, iron, magnesium and chromium.
I could concoct a fellow human with less. The loam atop
is laid softly, deliberately. For this is not burial. It’s construction.
Where else am I so tender? Or so optimistic that my
benevolence will bear results? I’m on my knees, a minor
god in this bed of roots and minerals. I prune carefully
like a Michelangelo of the rose bush. I pluck rocks,
those inviolate New England weeds. Yes I am slow,
but instinctual more than deliberate. I prefer my garden
to be an extension of myself rather than a blueprint I follow.
I’m a dab hand with mulch and have an Impressionist’s
indebtedness to color. I can be jealous of a butterfly
for the way it probes deeper into flowers than I can.
Yet I welcome this intrusion. I even say grace as it sips
on my sweet nectar. True, I am a domesticator of what
would run wild if I weren’t so involved. But I get
no pushback from the seeds, the stalks, the buds or the
petals. They value me in the way go along with
my watering, and welcome the generous access to
the sun that their location provides. And as for those
coffee grounds and eggshells that nourish and bolster –
I even top nature then. But I don’t brag about it.
&&&& I just write about it.

John Grey

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident, recently published in Stand, Santa fe Literary Review, and Sheepshead Review. Latest books, ”Between Two Fires”, “Covert” and “Memory Outside The Head” are available through Amazon. Work upcoming in the McNeese Review, La Presa and California Quarterly.





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