Cherry tomatoes dying on the vine.

the garden last night
did not look like
one with numbered days,
but in truth the numbering could
have been done in hours
or minutes even.
she laid languidly with
her open sunflowers
and a smattering of rainbow
zinnias, with wild
basils gone to seed and the
splitting shells of half rotten, fully
forgotten squash.
She was a lover left
ravaged by a summer romance,
laid bare and battered
by the persistent hands
of harvest and
by the passionate
heat of a South Carolina
July and August
and September
and now it is three weeks too
early for Frost to come
but he did anyway.
he came in the wee hours,
laid himself down on
her and from what I can tell,
in the evidence left for
me to collect this morning,
she didn’t even
put up a fight.
I meant to give her my
best and my most, but I always
knew it wouldn’t be enough
to make her stay.
I think sometimes I prayed her
into being, how else could
something as simple as seeds
and soil birth such a wild and sprawling

A handful of yellow ground cherry tomatoes.

When she was young and fruitful,
I came and took my fill from her
Oh, I loved her, sure.
But surely not enough.
I wrote poems for the world to read
but I cannot say I read them to her.
I cannot say I said much to
her at all.
Instead, our love
was silent.
Instead, I came as the day broke and
loved her as one does before the
demands of a busy life came calling.
and when
the sweat poured
down my back and constellations
of ant bites dotted my feet
and I sat amid her lushness,
I did not praise
her as a masterpiece
but rather cursed the way she challenged me.
I came sometimes absent-mindedly,
I came and checked her off my list.
I came and I went, and all the while
she stayed,
faithful and aging but
as she lost her luster, I
slowed in my coming until
the truth settled in that I
barely felt pulled to her at all.
Then I woke this morning
and realized what I’d lost.
ice crystals caught the
sunrise, shining like diamonds,
glittering across my farm like
the bejeweled riches
shine on a red carpet.
Frost stretched his legs across
the pasture,
a bright and blazing blanket
and beneath him,

Frozen tomatoes on a vine.

my garden’s farewell note,
left in the form of brown,
sagging leaves.
I stood there as the
sun rose, there where
she used to be,
feeling deflated and abandoned
in my wool and winter coat.
feeling all the rejection I had heaped
on her in those final
days of our fleeting love affair.
And I watched her go,
flaunted on the arm of that
smooth lover Frost who,
with one swift kiss,
wooed my garden. Who,
with one intense
and intentional touch, broke
every plan I’d made with her and
stole her love away.
I bargained and I
begged but I knew those
words fell on no ears at all.
Surely all the ears were
gone once the corn came
in ripely. Surely there
was no hope of calling
her back when Frost had left
a long list of promises
to come again, to
court her relentlessly.
I gathered the shadowy heads of
flowers, dead reminders
of how lovely she had been.
I pocketed the seeds on my
slow and somber walk into
the warmth of home,
and all the while I
repeated the very same
dirge I always do,
I repeated those surefire
resolutions of the

gardener who is left
heartbroken, heart shattered,
at the end of the season.
Next year I will love her more
fully, see her more clearly,
know her more intimately.
Next year I will chase her
with ferocity and give
her everything I have and
surely, next year I will.
We will repeat this dance,
she will come back to me
and we will fall into that
familiar romance. Surely,
next year, we will.

A butterfly on an orange flower.
I want to share this beautiful life with others and teach them the lessons we've learned along the way. Welcome to Roots and Refuge, friend. I am so glad you're here.

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