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Starting the Garden in Ground Fog

I look out a window in passing
and an angel is standing in my garden.
A gift of alignment: the sun in rising
behind the cemetery next door
has cast that statue into ground fog.

A nuance to the new day, the visitor's
no flat reflection, he's the original's
counterpart garbed in marble folds
of shadow, dimensional within
the dense center of the cloud, wings
unfurled over the furrows. I hurry out
because my grandfather claimed
that foggy days were the luckiest
for planting a garden.

Only yesterday ice crystals
from an out-of-season snow
flexed the light to red, yellow, green.
By noon those harvest colors had gone
into the ground, preparing for roots.
The roto-tiller's handles
quivered like a divining rod.

Careful not to start an air current
and roil the fog stone, I step into the plot.
Beneath a shadow wing
I put in the first of the tomato plants
that as seeds I pressed into starter pots.

I remember as a boy watching my grandfather
breathe on each root before tamping it in.
He answered that in County Cork
they say you'd be a damned fool not to.

A charm against unfruitfulness, he called it.
So I take pleasure in not being able
to tell my breath from the root I hold.

This angel wants me to be worthy
of the soil. One shadow
hand points downward
while the other touches the heart.

Thomas Reiter


Volume 66, Number 2

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