what we don’t see

I like my garden half-wild.
Everything in my small vegetable patch melds
tomato plants gone crazy, lettuce and mint co-mingle, carrots hide.
In September, on a night with sudden frost,
I’ll be out with bowls and buckets, and flashlight,
searching for tomatoes in every dark plant cranny.
But now it is August and their fruit hangs green and heavy,
one tomato turning orange on the vine.

I stay out so late weeding, deadheading, watering,
that the half-moon rises in greeting.
All children are in, even birds are still,
the neighbourhood magpies bedded down for the night.
The clouds alter as the sun leaves them, making a slow change
from white to grey in the deepening sky.
Scent rises most from white flowers,
and the dusk carries the smell of ornamental onions,
their starburst globes rising on stiff spikes,
and tall German Stattice, with tiny pink-white blooms
on many reaching fingers, waving and moving with the breeze.
They glimmer in the dark, a gift for our eyes that seek light,
see light for so long, even when it is gone from us.

My sunflowers are eight feet tall, leaves broader than a platter.
Giants above my children, sometimes they’ve grown six inches in a day,
hurrying to get to sky. Now they finally bloom and give everything
to the flower, huge yellow discs growing wider and fatter each day.
Bees and dragonflies have gotten stuck in the stamens, trapped, doomed
to slow death by bloom, legs held fast by developing seeds.
The bee surely yearning for the hive, the noise, the smell of her sisters.

The clouds move and keep moving, the night is never still.
The absence of sun allows the smell of earth, bloom, wetness.
Then the moon rises and the clouds change again.

I garden so late I can’t see the water entering the flower beds,
have to listen to the earth tell me when it has had enough.
And I watch the stars come out. They are always there anyway,
waiting, even when we are blind to them.
Like the bee, we don’t see what we don’t see.
Our eyes search the shadows for light, always. In this night sky,
the clouds might seem to slowly disappear, but they remain.
The bee might survive the night, pull cold legs out once morning mist
wets her yellow leg-hold trap. I might wake to find her gone,
seeking home, rest, repair, with an amazing story of survival,
courage in the face of it all, held fast on the pinnacle of the world,
till fingers loosened and she pulled herself away.

~Wendy Joy

Wendy Joy is a member of the Edmonton Stroll of Poets and also often performs with the Raving Poets. She is published in Freefall, The Prairie Journal, and on the Raving Poets CD I Love Alberta Beat. Her poem “Hot Sheets, Really” won 3rd prize in Freefall’s 2006 writing contest.

One Response to “what we don’t see”

  1. I absolutely loved your imagery. This is another one of those, “I wish I wrote this one”. Thanks for the read.

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