Winter 2011 • Vol. XXXIII No. 1 PoetryJanuary 1, 2011 |

Happiness

I have been taught never to brag but now I cannot help it: I keep a beautiful garden, all abundance, indiscriminate, pulling itself from the stubborn earth. Does it offend you to watch me working in it, touching my hands to the greening tips or tearing the yellow stalks back, so wild the living and the dead both snap off in my hands? The neighbor with his stuttering fingers, the neighbor with his broken love: each comes up my drive to receive his pitying, accustomed consolations, watches me work in silence a while, rises in anger, walks back. Does it offend them to watch me not mourning with them but working fitfully, fruitlessly, working the way the bees work, which is to say by instinct alone, which looks like pleasure? I can stand for hours among the sweet narcissus, silent as a point of bone. I can wait longer than sadness. I can wait longer than your grief. It is such a small thing to be proud of, this garden. Today there were scrub jays, quail, a woodpecker knocking at the whi

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Paisley Rekdal is the author of a book of essays, The Night My Mother Met Bruce Lee, and three books of poetry, A Crash of Rhinos, Six Girls Without Pants, and The Invention of the Kaleidoscope. Her newest book of poems, Imaginary Vessels, will be published in October 2016.

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