In The Garden

GARDEN 2   BFPIn the garden while
Grandmother worked,
I was told how much she
loved the summers we

Spent together, picking

Green beans; was told of
her tears at the end of
August as I climbed into
the back seat of the Buick,

Going home for another year

Of school; I heard directly
her loud complaints about
how slow I was drying the
dishes; heard directly her

Order me to mow the front

Lawn and pick up the living
room of my parents’ house
when she arrived unexpectedly
for a visit; both Grandmother

And my mother assured me
that Big Sister loved me,
while Bit Sister shared with
those within hearing her litany

Of things I had fouled up, then
later told me that she could
tolerate my presence for only
a few hours at a time.

Often, you proclaimed you
loved me; now, you stare at me
with resentment leavened by
liberal doses of bewilderment –

I, having resolved to abide no

Longer love heavily seasoned
with criticism, flavored with
anxiety, or, to use your phrase,
my darling, mild complaints,

Of ongoing, multiple failures to

Satisfy in every way one fails,
to satisfy, while the children
moaned about the invariable
lateness with which dinner was

Served, while you hired one

College girl after another to
clean the house, wash the
dishes, clean the cat’s litter box
as through the day, you

Tinkered in the garden.

© 2014 Paul Vanni



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