With what expectation I have come to court
the garden’s brown earth, persisting even when
it refuses my wooing, laughs off the earnest
proof of devotion: organic compost, manure.
Anxious seasons I angle the spud bar under
sneaky hunks of rock. What a comedian, that god,
who left them for me to find, the dandelions,
rusted nails, splintered fiberglass to debate,
the recurring plagues of horsetail root out,
and the dreggy brown I didn’t ask for
to argue its own claims, a smug fidelity
to old river clay. A hen scratches near
my elbow. I open my palm, the small glisten
of slug or severed worm coined up within.
No fool, she pecks, mocks me with that tilt
of her head, certain I still have more to give.