My father-in-law always planted
double of everything.
If he wanted two, he put in four,
three, then six, and on, and on,
edging possibility toward probability.
Always an even number of holes
to dig, seeds or saplings to set,
to fertilize, to pack into place.
Always counting backward, subtracting.
Always knowing half of the effort
was an empty gesture against the odds,
against the forces that claim,
at least, half of everything he did,
like willful children, or bullies,
or nature’s hit men, the seven mad gods
who rule time.
But Ray would never say, if I asked,
why this, or why not something else?
He had lived long enough to know the miles
between intent and outcome,
between the garden you dream and
the garden you finally get.
J. K. Durick is a writing teacher at the Community College of Vermont
and an online writing tutor. His recent poems have appeared in Northern
New England Review, Up the River, Third Wednesday, and Common Ground
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