If you make a garden under a full moon
the earth will ripen like rotting fish.
The scales will become the gleam of magnolia,
the eyes the centers of aster. If you make
a garden while in mourning the earth
will dew your tears into an alter
for deer to test with their hesitant tongues.
If you make a garden with dandelions
bees will bless you as one of their own.
If you make a garden but have never made
a child, the earth will say put your hands here.
You are only one of its animals. Lay
your body down in the garden after
the neighbors go in from their pool,
paper lanterns extinguished,
stereo off and a stillness the shape of air
in which music has recently moved. Feel how
the ground remains warm long after
it carries the last guest home.
Laura Donnelly is the author of two collections of poetry, Midwest Gothic (Ashland Poetry Press 2020) and Watershed (Cider Press Review 2014). Originally from Michigan, she lives in Upstate New York and serves as Director of Creative Writing at SUNY Oswego.