Back in my mother’s garden,
the fences were always broken
as the whole of creation clambered in
with tendrils and buried nests
and shanks of love-lies-bleeding.
Star-bright stock, always night-scented,
lit the crazy paving to a fern bank,
where toads with golden eyes
guarded my marijuana crop disaster.
Ivy followed us all the way indoors
with moths that slept in lampshades.
Beetles fell from our homework.
Chrysalides glistened in sock drawers.
Lawns and borders were outlawed
being too needy and English.
Any frost chose its victims sparingly.
Every Spring tasted of honey,
long before the arrival of bees.
Geraniums thrust through rubble
so green was the blade of her knife.
The harder the stem was cut,
the stronger it grew back.
In her hands, life was inevitable
until her fingers grasped only ours
over the bedrail. She coughed
then turned her back once more.
Also, clematis, mint, mallow, foxgloves,
elderberry, phlox and delphiniums.

Shortlisted for the Montreal International Poetry Prize 2020

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