Gardener
Martin Galvin

Even before the apple bonked him on the noggin
He had had less than a charmed beginning, fumbling
His feet from the bed. Mirroring his sluggish way,

The waterfall spigot slowed to a drip
as he washed the night from his eyes.
He had dreamed that a pal he had known

Since they were striplings fell into favor
With his brokers and committed himself
and all his friends to indictable sin.

He meant to work his garden for the sake
Of the rhubarb and asparagus penciling
Toward the secrets of the dirt. His wife

Loved asparagus, the green bumps
On the stalks reminding her of her father’s
Talk of crocodiles, the gentle ways he spoke

To the farmyard chickens. She had told him, though,
their life as man and wife could not be the same
after last night, after what she had come to know

about his blood, the way his mother’s milk,
            against all testaments, was used to cook
                        the lamb and how, afterward, his father smiled.

He guessed he’d have to tend to the evening’s meal,
the salmon’s emptied eye looking up at him,
his children ripening in the fickle rain.

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