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
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.