The Moon Garden
No soft-hearted voices,
no chimes singing an aria in duet
with the breeze; only the Adirondack chair,
lying back in its aura of aged cedar,
where my mother would sit with her coffee,
reading in the garden
that is now sprawled out in the darkness.
For weeks, the grounds have been without power,
without sun, without flowers. But grief
has its repetition, its premise
for darkness; its gravity, intrusive
and yet solitary, creeping without restraint
into that space needing to be filled.
On either side of the aisle leading to Our Lady
in marble, Lilies of the Valley,
now finding their place in the spring,
join in communion, their petals
tolling like a string of bells
with the sweet scent of my mother's perfume.
Even the foliage is fine-cut.
Where the ground is still grieving
in patches of raw earth, heart-shaped leaves
break against the moonflowers;
their buds, shut as tightly as an owl's eyes,
ready to open soon after dark. Beyond
the bush of vanilla-cream roses,
there is that space, a solace to be sought
as much as the spirit that cannot linger,
cannot wait. We are bound to these borders
like the garden itself is bound in the dark
to its solitude without transition,
without the perception that one world
could soon pass into another. It is that loss,
suddenly eternal, oblivious to time
and place, that takes its turn
like each phase of the moon, sometimes full,
sometimes half—and sometimes,
a mere slice as bright as a lemon,
squeezing its light on the rim of our heaven.