Courtship

Courtship

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.

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