Jeannine Hall Gailey

JULY, IN THE GARDEN, I FEEL LIKE DEATH

Last year at this time the doctors shook their heads.
I felt fine. They said I had six months, max. Nothing
they could do. Radiation, blah, chemo, blah.

This week I felt like dying but it was really only
multiple sclerosis, gastroparesis. The doctors beamed at me for my great act
of surprise and heroism – not dying. They patted my hand.

I have been spending time trying to make my little
plot of land better. Lavender planted last fall,
when I still thought I might not see spring.

Roses coaxed into blooming, rampant sweet peas.
I water and snip and watch them, benevolent
as the sun. I cannot seem to keep my own body

tidy as my garden, which is not that tidy, not compared
to my neighbors, retired ladies with roses climbing up fences
and whole armies of spectacular clematis, honeysuckle.

I wish I could tame this garden inside me, this wayward
biome that taxes even the most careful caretaker.
I will plant myself here in sandy soil, under sunny skies.



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