Flowers of Heraclitus

by C.E. Chaffin

I watch the garden too much,
hoping for it to happen.
The deer could undo it all.
Last year they savaged the cabbage,
cropped the snapdragons
and beheaded the broccoli.
This year I planted only deer-
and drought-resistant flowers.

I watch the garden too much.
Heraclitus explained we only notice change.
As too much a part of what is changing
the observer is blinded.
If only I could return in two weeks!
But who would watch the garden?

In late afternoon the sun
curls around the cypress,
illuminating the young plants.
Copper daisy, heliotrope, princess flower —
their time will come, while all time
belongs to weeds, the wild radish,
nettles, and wild cucumber.
And in all this no real tropes
save the hands of a gardener,
the dirt beneath the nails
I poke at with a toothbrush.


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