a tribute to Julie Levitt

she breaks the day with a bucket to the compost pile
her long hair bunned like a flower bud dawning
greets her morning with observance of dew
and an eye for what will be pruned today
she is alone with the voices in her garden

she trots out the wheelbarrow
bends her straight back to the curve of earth
weeds a berm, prunes a rose
kisses a hello to the vines
and she is alone, solitary with green voices

she doesn’t speak
of the joy and the beauty that feathers her arm
or the soil that sets in her nails,
she keeps this to herself, digging her spade and planting flats
the pleasure that mounts in her heart
alone in the fullness of her garden

giving gifts of cuttings
a bouquet for a banquet
a daisy for a daughter
an herbal oblation for her husband
she escapes until sunset in the spring of her garden
a grinning girl, happy like a child
with stained pant knees
stamping her shovel, it makes her point
she is in the company of her own devices dancing in the garden

she is there
she will always be there
caressing the wayward leaf, digging the roots
being touched by birds, salvaging seeds
but she is not alone
she is surrounded by a choir of loved ones singing from her garden
as she draws toward nature’s familiar voice
calling her, calling her
by name.


this poem won 3rd Place at the San Mateo County Fair 2016