Hannah in the Garden


By Beth Anne Cooke-Cornell

In spring,
you uncover
the forsythia
from burlap
and inspect
your autumn
handiwork. 
You rake
the mulch
from the roses
and work
the beets
and the carrots
into the soil
with your
cracked nails. 
Your bent feet
tread the
garden paths,
as you
contemplate
succession
and yield.

But one day
the weeds
breach the defenses
and the forsythia
chokes on its breath.
You don’t bother
to shut
the screen door then;
you only press
your skull
hard against
the cool floor
of the kitchen
and push your fingers
deep into your ears,
seeking out the pain,
committing
to the urgency.
You hear the scream
of your blood
in your eyes, 
and taste
warm pennies
in your mouth. 

When it’s all over,
the bees return
to tend the garden;
the tomatoes
split their skin.
The air reeks
of dirt.


Beth Anne Cooke-Cornell is an Associate Professor of Humanities at Wentworth Institute of Technology.  She lives in Salem, MA with her husband and three children. Her most recent work can be read in Public Pool.  

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