Touch: The Journal of Healing



Late summer

weeds have their wild time — a snarl

    of red sorrel and crabgrass.

Knotweed under the Hosta.

A spindly vine eclipses Black-eyed Susan’s

    last gloomy suns.

Between daily visits to the nursing home,

I hire a college student, lean and tan.

She moves through the garden like a deer

    selecting a delicacy,

culling crabgrass from the lilies.  

I ask her to dig up the drooping bluebells,

    to cut back the oregano.

“All right, then” she says.

She leans down her long legs to pull,   

    steady as a metronome

then kneels, as if tending a grave, to release

    roots from the earth.

Deep in the pachysandra she burrows in the dirt

    like a cat on a hot day,

fingers combing through leaves.

The last time I was out there, I grabbed,

yanked until my face ran with grit and tears.

    I nipped off shriveled heads,

ripped vines away from bushes wanting

some kind of vengeance for the time it takes pain

    to waste a dying mother.

Watching her patient work I see the plants

    breathe easier.

I tell her how beautiful it looks and she answers,

    “all right, then.”  

by Diana Cole

© 2011 Diana Cole

Diana Cole’s poems have been selected for publication by numerous journals including Sahara, Blueline, the Tipton Poetry Journal, The Aurorean, The Christian Century, The Chaffin Journal, Slipstream, and Avocet.  Her poem, “Though I Walk,” set for double chorus by Thomas Stumpf, won the Pharos Music Project’s award and was performed in New York City.

Copyright © 2011

Touch: The Journal of Healing

All rights reserved.

Editor’s Choice