The summer her garden no longer grew, gardening felt like
Child’s play making mud pies. Every dead flower turned over
And touched the dried soul: marigolds, begonias, roses, gardenias.
How she envied the other gardeners especially the kind who with magic
Hands could make the flowers sing. They were the ones who could tame
Hummingbirds, teach them to eat from their palms or sing on cue. What
She wouldn’t have given for a little pink petal or a red crest to give her
Some summer color. But it was her place to fail so the others could win;
Hers to sleep so the others could dance. If only her begonias weren’t too
Sodden to rise, if only her rose buds would open rather than remain tight in a bud,
Then she could unleash herself, extract from the shadows of her life beauty,
Her sol as soft as silk – beautiful but useless – like a garden resting at the bottom
Of the sea.
Black blank faces staring straight into space,
Holding a cool steel bar so as not to step out
The bodies move with the rails
Feet planted like ballet dancers all in a line
Bending and arching as if to music
An impossibly short old man
Fits like a puzzle piece between passengers
And somehow holds his pose.
Everyone keeps to himself for fear of offending,
Fears of startling or starting someone or something unwanted.
I return to a childhood dream of fly fishing midstream
And catching iridescent fish midair
The screeching and grinding snaps me back and the
White faces who won’t look at me, who won’t touch me
But stand oh so close are continuing in their cadence
And then the old, old man begins to fall out of rhythm
Awkwardly, he launches into my arms.
His silver hair glows.
Janet Doggett is a writer-poet with a master’s degree in creative writing from Texas Tech.
In 2003, she won the best writing award as a graduate student at the Albuquerque Pop Culture conference.
She has had numerous online publications including non-fiction essays on celiac.com and The New England Writer’s Association website.
She also has had essays published in the literary journals So-to-Speak and Tangent. Her poem, “Death, Maybe?” has been published online in “Drown In My Own Fears” Issue # 20, and three more poems will be available in print this spring by Scars Publication’s “Down in the Dirt”. She lives in Massachusetts where she is working on a poetry chapbook.