"The Garden Bed" by Sidney Louise Brown

On Sunday afternoons my grandmother worked the soil
along the park fence and from her bucket
she added bits of ash, peat, and lime.
She ridged her rows with bonemeal
chalking in bits of manure.
It was here she cultivated sloping beds of flowers.

My grandfather told her not to talk to them.
Not to drink their martinis.
They must be Sunday lovers from another town
not to be trusted because of their separate sedans, 
Her tilted hat,
And the way he stretched out on that scotch plaid blanket.

But she was with them.
It was her sweet briar drawing them
and her balsam buds scenting their secret.
In the spring their air was sticky with hyacinth
and spiced with rhododendron and lilac.

Every Sunday, every season, my grandmother reached in and squeezed
the thick black earth grown from the clay she was given.
And she would sip her martini, 
setting it down on her garden box
as she seeded promises of violet and vanilla. 


Sidney Louise Brown is a retired English teacher and former adjunct professor living in Alexandria, Virginia. A Northern Virginia Writing Project Consultant, after attending the Sewanee Writers Conference, she gathered regional poets and writers to create similar workshops for teachers who write. She has also led meditation walks and retreats throughout the greater D.C. area, published educational articles, and presented her work at educational conferences.

Posted on July 28, 2016 .