The Gardeners This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

January 9, 2011
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I don’t believe in grass, anymore
Because three feet under I feel metal,
And three more feet the dead lie and do not sing.
They cut grass into squares,
Three-dimensional, serving sized
Planes of imagined redemption
Or trivial competition with the neighbors.
There is no grass in my backyard,
But some days there are weeds.
I swallow metal easily and mold,
Without heat, into the permanent shape
Of whatever the gardeners want me to be.
They are the same men and woman who
Burned the twisting corpses,
Who plucked feathers from our birds,
Who stuck needles in the eyes and arms
Of the beautiful.
They dress in black fabrics with orderly,
One-dimensional blocks over their faces
So that they cannot eat or sleep,
Only cut down what is green and
Drone on.

Nights, I dream of lipstick,
And a closet full of black slips, and dresses
Which might lure my starving limbs into a room
Painted in colors of forgetting.
If I owned this room, I would sit facing a stranger,
And when I said, “I’m sorry”
I would always mean it.
I would twist metal into birds,
Lie over graves of dead that never knew me,
Tell the gardeners, “I’m sorry,
I’m sorry, I’m sorry.”
If I owned this house
Of impossible dimensions,
I would let the grass in the front yard
Grow tall.

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