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Brian Swann


The Garden

   But all this has thrust up again right in front
of my eyes and all around, surprising me year
   after year, as if some cheeky myth could sprout
from dust and dung. And there is it, crawling with ants
   and insects, sucked at by hummingbirds, dug up
by vole and chipmunk, its bright fragrant flesh
   unveiled each dawn as if it were waiting
for someone, some godling who will love it like
   self-love, turn it into him or herself for us to
admire and draw from, a story of life without end.
   But I’m getting old, and don’t believe such stories.
Today I missed everyone and everything.
   I missed too much to count, and it hurt.
When I tried to count, things seemed to shake free
   of me like leaves and blow away. Now there’s
some dark figure down there, not too far off
   at the bottom of the garden waving to me,
beckoning me down. I won’t wave back, hoping
   he’s mistaken me for someone else.
I’ll turn away.


Brian Swann is the poetry editor of OnEarth, the quarterly environmental magazine of the Natural Resources Defense Council. He won both the 2005 Ohio State University Press/The Journal Award for Autumn Road (Ohio State University Press) and the 2005 Lena-Miles Wever Todd Prize for Snow House (Pleiades Press/LSU Press).

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