If I Leave
by Carol A. Stephen
If I had never slept in barns, nor called
a cellar home, might walls have held me
safe from tractors I could never drive?
If I could ride, would the furrows be straight,
narrow trenches filled with rain, the promise of each seed?
Yet, I’ve tilled myself a garden, made a home
for frogs to hide under inverted clay pots. They wait
for flies, their tongues curled, sticky with anticipation.
If I leave first, bury me with a memory of my garden:
a blackeyed susan, blue delphinium,
or an explorer rose, everywhere thorned and twisting.
Scatter the petals of spent blooms in the doorway,
crush them underfoot. Their scent will hold an answer
to when or why. Do not cry then. Walk the old growth forest,
scatter my memories among roots of its oldest tree.
Give what remains to soil and sky, and…
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