Yard Work

by Sarah Maclay

I’ll clear the old, putrid fruit,
the carcasses of bees where oranges have fallen
and the drying turds the dogs have dropped.
I’ll sweep away the fallen avocado leaves
grown snowy with their infestations,
snip the stems of toppled flowers, toss them.
I’ll yank the hose across the grass,
turn the rusty faucet,
let the lawn moisten
to a loose, runny black.
I’ll water the rosemary
till I can smell it on my fingers.
Time to grab the trowel.
Time to dig.
To take off the gloves.
Let the handle callous the palm.
Time to fill the fingernails
with dirt.
Time to brush the trickle from your forehead.
Time to plant the bulb,
to fill the hole with loam and water,
covering the roots.
Time to join the soil to soil
until the night is jasmine
and a thickness like a scent of lilies
rises off the bed;
until the stalks of the naked ladies fall to the ground,
twisting on their roots;
until our broken fists lie blooming.

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