“Spiderwort and Blackberry” by Phoebe Cragon

It’s a start, at least, my mother sighs.

The clueless gardener, summoned in desperation,
rips through vines and kicks something up
into the french door, leaves it fractured and frosted-looking,
hanging like a held breath behind the venetians
that we can’t exactly look out of anymore.

Once dirty work’s done there’s a relief
in surveying the empty agitated earth,
though victory doesn’t feel quite like we expected
with the irises beheaded and weeping indigo,
Great-Grandmother’s hydrangeas dethroned
for daring to sleep through winter.

Victory doesn’t feel like victory when we realize,
too late, that neglect doesn’t kill fast enough.
Guilt is perennial.

Next thing we know it’s summer and we’re sweating again,
on our knees unbraiding lantana and thistle
under an indifferent sun.

It never ends, my mother laments.

Green and dying and ever-narcissistic,
the garden curls away from us.
With no deference to our hands
it rots and flowers and folds in on itself,
antic and unconquerable.




Phoebe Cragon is a student pursuing a degree in English with a focus on creative writing at Centenary College of Louisiana, where she is Senior Literary Editor of Pandora Magazine.