The Tour of a Jersey Garden

by Catherine Stansfield

Allow me to apologize—
in this unit, the only window
that opens is propped up with a
wooden block, and the rest refuse
to budge, so there are no flower
boxes here. But there are gardens
in the back—flat and gray,
never photographed for a postcard.

No, my trowel can’t break through
the concrete. I’ve tried, then stopped when
I understood. The rich soil was long paved
over and painted with lines for the rows of
cars fresh off of the used car lot. There is a
square of grass to the left, if you squint.
Right there beneath the old tires.
Maybe this is the used car lot.

Come, take a look at the beautiful fountain
that is my dripping faucet. Spot the knotted
trellises climbing up my neighbor’s window in
the form of cobwebs. I won’t take you to the
community gardens a few blocks over.
The local gardeners took turns pissing in all
of the planters, so the sunflowers didn’t
bloom this year. Or any year before.

But let me show you my dreams,
where every breath is deep and clear.
Emerald fields are tilled and dampened
by an overcast sky. The delphiniums have
ripened into a delicate blush and even thorny
rose bushes look soft to the touch.
I live here when I can’t bear the thought
of watering my own garden.

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