A Short History of the Garden

It was the time after we’d planted the front garden with

xxxxxxxxwinter jasmine, black-eyed Susans, rosemary and stalky purple

Mexican petunias and they were coming up fast and mixing with

xxxxxxxxthe sweet-spreading basil that was already there and the day

was wearing its ordinary summer wear flagrant in its youthful

xxxxxxxxassumptions and because sunlight would flood

the front room and make the hardwood floor glow gold if we left open the

xxxxxxxxfront door so that the only thing separating the inside of the house

from the outside was the full-view glass storm door

xxxxxxxxand then I heard not a knock but a thump on it

and saw the still body of a bird lying on its side

xxxxxxxxwhen I got closer I could see it was a crow perfectly still and its claws

were contracted tight as if still holding onto a thin branch and

xxxxxxxxdeath had done nothing to diminish the blue-black sheen

of its fine coat it had seen nothing but a rectangle of clear air

xxxxxxxxthat it flew towards and it was nothing but my need for an

escape from the world the natural world that ended that life

xxxxxxxxyou cannot redeem what is unredeemable

I was innocent in the way we’re all innocent

xxxxxxxxreplacing nature with our version of it

smelling the rosemary and basil rising in the heat of the morning



Jon Thompson’s latest book is Notebook of Last Things (Shearsman Books, 2019). He also edits Free Verse Editions, a poetry series, and Illuminations: A Series on American Poetics. More on him can be found at www.jon-thompson.com 


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