A long time ago,

in a summer

that blew my hair

past my shoulders,

I decided I’d begin to garden.

I dug for hours

and planted for days

and one day a stem grew through the morning haze.

I thought I’d planted roses,

but red buds turned into poppies.

I threw the shovel down

and walked away.

I didn’t plant for a whole day.

Then a week,

a month, a year…

Once more I looked out,

evening swallowing the sun.

Through the dusty windows

I saw my garden.

Yet it wasn’t mine.

I was its.

Rebellious red flowers –

still not roses

– swallowed the dirt and

dry roots were trailing their way

to my door, until one day

A small little poppy grew on my door stop

in a crack that I’d never filled.

I pulled my hair behind my ears.

As I leaned over, it hung low.

I touched the poppy but didn’t pull,

pretending that polite could replace prejudice.

Crowded, overfilled, and pretentious,

this garden that I found myself

trapped in,

growing through rings in fences,

growing between bricks,

growing, and never ending,

grew something I never thought would grow,

in places I never thought could grow

in this life of mine.


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