For Mother's Day
"Clearing the Garden"
In memory of my mother
Irene F. Miller, 1918 - 2002
There's nothing left of summer but the stakes
that held tomato vines and pole beans clear
of earth, though I have pulled and tossed their bounty
unharvested onto the compost heap.
Just rows of empty soil and weathered poles
remain behind, and faded ties of cloth
which once sustained fecundity. When I
have gathered those, the garden will be bare.
The pantry shelves still hold a few sealed jars
from last year's crop that shimmer in the light
the swinging bare bulb casts; bell peppers gleam,
string beans in vinegar reflect the light,
tomatoes, okra, squash, and sugar peas
burn with the very last of vanished light.