The Lost Gardeners – by Kristina Diprose


Last night I dreamt of the men who used to tend me;
how I envied their bodies that could up and leave,
how they left me at night, gone to warm other beds,
to sow other seeds, how I would grow wild with dread
of them never returning, how they always did,
with caresses so tender only they and I lived
when we were together. We lived for each other,
I sculpted and worshipped by prodigal lovers,
I under their nails and in the rub of their hands.
I remember they tasted of sea salt and sand.

Now my lovers are gone and new ones take their place.
Some come daily, most just for a glimpse, then away.
I try not to mind, I still blossom and ripen
and fall at their feet singing “I am your garden,
I am all for the taking if you’ll only stay,
if you’ll sit and be still with me as the light fades.”
It works like a charm for an hour or an evening
but they are not raised with the patience of seedlings
from soil, they are not anchored by the roots of trees.
They are human, they long to be moving and free.

They say that I was lost without them. It is true
that I was long inconsolable at the news
of their deaths, that parts of me grew quite monstrous
while others would not stir at all. I was a mess
the next time they ventured in; what did they expect?
My lovers downed their tools and took up bayonets
and perished with a million others in the mud.
I had been beautiful, but I was not enough
to hold them, to make them peaceful, so my branches
became limbs, my blooms open wounds, my beds trenches.



Kristina Diprose has an unfashionable habit of rhyming, which she can’t seem to kick. Her work is published by Stirred Press and Route 57 at the University of Sheffield. She lives in Saltaire, runs a spoken word night called Rhubarb @The Triangle and is a member of Leeds Savages.