The Night Gardener

The Night Gardener

knows her plants by feel. 

                                                                     Here, the curl of a sprout.  

               There, the poke of a weed. 

Water soaks into dirt. Scissors snip the scraggly ends.  She croons to the baby zucchinis in the greenhouse because her human children are all grown and too old for lullabies.  For the seedlings big enough to be tucked into beds, she coddles their roots with compost and whispers stories about past blooms from long ago.  The tomatoes listen and learn about the colors they can become.  The tiny kale ignore her, preoccupied with their fresh new frills. She does not tell them about fall.  About the reaping that happens when summer’s warmth begins to die.  Only once, in all her gardening years, did she ever look up at the moon and ask, “Are you lonely?” 

When the minutes scatter past eleven, she turns to home, and then to bed.  She pulls back the sheets, lies in the middle so that there are no unoccupied sides, and arranges her body into the shape of a star.  She spreads arms, fingers, knees and toes.  A pillowed softness stretches beneath.  The moon slips through, prunes back shadow, light pushing between the spaces. 

Jenny Wong