The weeds had their way with the bird feeder too.

Now it wears a suit of ivy, as the fence's barbs

wear windblown clothes they shredded all year long

while dividing neighbor from neighbor.

Nothing chirps here in my birdless jungle

but the morning glories still perish like Achilles every day

after purpling like sluts for the rapacious bees.

The blight of this view: foliage, beer cans, bee stings.

I've  just set down

my hoppy poison and wondered

to excuse my absence. Here's a trace

of humanity: two desiccated mint sprigs in a highball glass.

My ex's attempt at a julep

when seasons were still incipient

and Zelda catchy. Plus a chair

she stood on and splintered,

spying on the stray neighbor's cats.

Its fragments have been wrangled by the kamikaze flowers.

For all I know even the cats were devoured

by these maws of grass and ivy.

I stir the brew

and the brew stirs me. A squirrel comes creeping

between barbs, along wooden prongs of the fence.

It descends an inherited mimosa tree.

Just to sip the rainwater

puddled in the depression

of the trashcan's lid.

What a marvelous, bushy creature.

It made something of my languor.

Richard Prins studied creative writing at Columbia University and currently resides in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Previous publications include chapbook, Pedestrian Prophets, as well as poems & prose appearing in HazMat, Unquiet Desperation
and Elimae. 


The Garden began as the first poem I wrote after losing a political campaign I had worked on for nearly two years; it was then a mopey, didactic attempt to make something out of the wake of obsession and defeat. Nearly a month later I broke up with my girlfriend of six years, and found reason to come back to the poem, giving it new life by obliterating the pedantic political references in favor of more personal allusions. A fitting process, for a poem that's a stew of loss with hints of rejuvenation.



Copyright 2009