After All

After All

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Even when the garlic crop is good,
something else is always dying—

the peas withering in the afternoon we hoped
for rain instead of watering, the tomatoes

over-shaded. It should teach us something
about pathos or fate, but really

couldn’t we have tried harder? Predicted
the week of heat when the spinach bolted?

The trouble with gardening
is there’s rain and wind and sun to blame,

like the woman in the buffer zone
outside the clinic who spat at me and screamed

What kind of man is he to bring you here?
while I held your hand, and our daughter curled

in her crib at home with the sitter.
Afterward, I dozed against you

on a park bench overlooking the city
until I was ready to go back to work.

But that’s not gardening.
And still there’s the garlic—

those round, paper-skinned heads
you pulled this morning and carefully laid out

to dry on the driveway’s warm flat bed
below our window.

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