I’m incompetent in the garden,
digging up flowers or raking them,
when they’re tender April shoots,
into chewed bits. My neglect
encourages three foot high thistles
and nightshade and skunk weed,
and the Snow on the Mountain I planted
under the cedar over 13 years ago
has colonized half the backyard.
I let dried leaves take over the beds,
am indifferent to pruning,
have no idea when to plant bulbs,
and allow squirrels to transplant
the neighbor’s daffodils to our lawn.
My surviving flowers and shrubs
cling to life despite me, struggling
in ragged non-rows, competing with
dandelions and three year old mulch.
About once a year, I head out and
tackle something with haphazard zeal.
Today, I raked beds, retrampled
mulch, rearranged the puffs of leaves
around the bottoms of the bushes,
got something stuck in my thumb
that’s still bugging me, pulled a few
weeds and left them piled on the porch,
couldn’t get the weedkiller to squirt,
pushed some bent metal “holders”
around the incipient peonies, and
then put all the tools away before
noting the pile of leaves on the back
patio that will no doubt remain therefor another twelve months.