You wonder whether I even noticed
the five holes in the flower beds
about the time you brought over some house plants.
I didn’t want to see them
as more than more possum’s undertaking
stirring fusty leaves from the crusts around rhododendrons
and ferns mom found in the woods.
You love to say, she loved her roses, just like oma.
There are others. Deer from the ravine
bit off last year’s first blossoms just blooming,
even the attic squirrels skitter down the lilac tree
into freshly planted myoga, growing well in bricked-in bog.
The shade between houses lets fungi get a leg up—
one year pruned too close—more than it could pull through
in a rainy year; dry summers are too late,
the cherry covered in ants and we
set a trap for the gnawing in the rafters.
If I catch a squirrel how many seeds from the garden
will sprout up in its new woods somewhere south?
If you’d just asked for starters from roses or any
of the others, how proud, how we were sharing.
(Originally appeared in Crab Creek Review)