Lynne Knight

The Garden

I believed I would love gardening, 
so my husband dug a huge plot and tilled it, 
stopping now and then to drink a beer. 
I drank wine at the time, and often 
in the morning I was too hung over 
to want to go out to the garden, or anywhere, 
and by late afternoon, all I wanted 
was the first drink of the day. 

The tomatoes, unstaked, slumped. 
The beans and peas withered. 
Worms tunneled the cabbages,
slugs slid over cucumbers and zucchini.
One late summer morning, a neighbor 
walked across the back yard to stand 
scratching his jaw, surveying the wreckage. 
Gotta weed if you want things 
to grow, he called to me, desultory 
on the deck. Then he went back to the dark 
of his screened porch. Before the first snow, 
my husband plowed the mess under.

The next year, and the next, we planted 
nothing. Stray plants emerged — some beans, 
the zucchini. My husband plowed again, 
raked it smooth, planted grass seed. 
The edges of the rectangle that had been 						
the garden remained. Year after year, 	
I waited for winter, for snow
to disappear the garden altogether. 
I poured more wine, fooled myself 
into thinking the shame of my drinking 
secret. And my daughter grew, seeing 
all she’d be asked to overlook.