Walking to My Father’s Grave,
I Pass His Old Garden

 
The trees are gone. Not even a stump left to guide me.
Instead there are rows of cabbages, snaps peas, carrots.

Where the blossom lay, the new owner’s trench of leeks.
In later years, the garden was all he knew of the world.

The idle release of a marigold and the apple’s journey
toward becoming the hard flesh he took back each morning

and consumed. It’s what I’m thinking of today as I pass
the garden, that soil’s rich motor. What he gazed at

back then, cultivated now by a younger man. But why not
make room for the yams, the sprouts? I’m on my way

with a handful of parsnips. After all, he had no time
for the manicured lawns, nor jars of cut flowers

in shops and cemeteries. He preferred the wild clematis,
the spectral wigs of dandelion flowers seeding

the chapel grounds, their clocks canceling above the dead.

 

  

  

Adam ChilesAdam Chiles’s first book Evening Land was shortlisted for the Gerald Lampert Award for best debut collection in Canada. His work is forthcoming in The Moth (Ireland) and The Threepenny Review.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Header photo by nature photos, courtesy Shutterstock. Photo of Adam Chiles by Miriam Berkley.

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