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  • Writer's picturePenny Harter


On this Autumn Equinox day, I wake from a dream of having called my mother. She loved to garden, and each day as I walk past the small garden, not mine, edging the brick building I live in, I think of her. Now our gardens are going to seed, and winter is on the horizon. From last year's "new" book, here's a poem about these feelings . . . and gardens on the cusp of fall.

Ghost Garden

Once there were obedient rows prepared for seeding annuals, and hardy perennials dependable as the tilt of the turning planet.

Leaves transparent as dragonfly wings fluttered in the breeze—dragonflies whose compound eyes refracted summer sun.

Now it’s gone to weed and seed, random blossoms dropping petals, pesky volunteers daring to poke their varied signatures up

through crumbling dirt. Sometimes children come to play there, remembering faces in the hearts of fallen flowers, seeking laughter in the

harsh caws of crows, or hiding in the tall grasses that glitter gold in the slant rays of late afternoon. But at night, for those who used to kneel beside

the flowerbeds, their spades turning fertile soil— at night the garden blooms again, filling their phantom arms with ghost bouquets as they

pass through one another—translucent spirits haloed in faint moonlight, their fading faces buried in the lingering scents of Earth.

(c) 2020 Penny Harter from A Prayer the Body Makes (Kelsay Books, 2020)


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