~*~The Gardener Speaks~*~

Now as I watch you
sleeping in this place
of stones, teeth, fog,
skulls and ashy dreams
my eyes reach backward
groping for colors
as alien as smiles...
blue, scarlet, yellow, green
hues of flowers
that glow and nod and wink
around your doors and windows
richer there than elsewhere
more popular with bees
an unending party
conspiratorial and daring
in league with the sun.

When first I planted them
I was very small
and you were tall, or so it seemed
to a lad of five springs.
You watched me learn
grinning and proud
defending me from bullies, dogs,
doubts, things too real and piercing
for a child's fragile garden.
Stories and songs
I gleaned from you
riding on your back
when my boy-feet ached
with the weight of my wonder.
You saw me grow, paid me well
to do the work
I would have done free.
I called you master
but you treated me as equal.
You were my big brother
when I had none
you became my gardener
as I was yours.
The flowers you planted
in my hungry soul
grew lush and forceful
in your unblinking light.

Now I am the stronger one
and as I watch you sleep
your cruel burden clutched
in your reluctant hand,
I resolve to be to you
what you once were to me:
your protector, your brother,
your lamp and your stay.
I'll throw you an easy rope
when you cannot climb
carry you when your strength fails
and drive each cold and grasping thing
from your faltering bones.
Where thorns abound
I'll plant bright eyed flowers
giving their names to my children
so they too will be filled
with wonder and poems
fireworks and dancing
and every joyous thing
that you first sowed in me
bathed in the incomparable
radiance of friendship.

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