Preparing the Garden – by Wendy DeGroat


There is satisfaction in the reclaiming,
defining again where things end and begin.
Twigs and leaf-debris cleared from beds.
Dime-high seedlings, oak and holly, pulled,
weeds too. Willow fence restaked. Bench
brushed clean. Afterward, shoulders
and back that good kind of weary. Heat
seeps from my shirt as I rest in the shade,
peaceful riot of birdsong and traffic, cheers
from a distant ballgame, a fountain gurgling.

What more could I wish of this place?

As I think this, two sparrows race past.
And for the first time, as my eyes follow
their flight, I notice a Celtic cross
under the neighbors’ Nandina and recall
the dogs they lost this winter, our cat
we lost this fall. I wonder if the cross
marks one or both their losses, or whether
it’s planted to help us remember them all.



Wendy DeGroat’s poetry has appeared in U.S. and U.K. publications, including Common-place, Raleigh Review, Beltway Poetry Quarterly, Mslexia, Forage, and The Brillantina Project. She lives in Richmond, Virginia, where she works as a librarian, teaches writing workshops, and curates poetryriver.orgHer chapbook Beautiful Machinery is forthcoming from Headmistress Press in 2017.

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