I sit in the sun in May
by a flat of strawberry plants
I plan to hoe in to thick mulch
and loam as my wife directs:
Four in the garden’s heart,
three against the edges,
dig in deep, water just enough
to nourish the roots.
Fine as baby or angel hair,
their secondary filaments delicate
as breath, I’ll gentle the roots into rich soil
Clara’s worked for decades,
as she nurses her post-surgical chest,
arms too swollen to use.
I limp from a leg injury,
after months of walking too much,
six hundred miles since January,
hiking daily over steep hills,
to ease the strain of caretaking,
until my legs gave out.
I plant from a chair, as she, the gardener,
stands, hands at her sides,
we two halves hoping for a whole harvest
sometime this summer.
Laura Foley is the author of eight poetry collections. Her poems have won numerous awards, and national recognition—read frequently by Garrison Keillor on The Writers Almanac; appearing in Ted Kooser’s American Life in Poetry. Her poems have appeared in Alaska Quarterly Review, Valparaiso Poetry Review, Poetry Society London, Crannog Magazine (Ireland), DMQ Review, Atlanta Review, Mason Street, JAMA, and many others. Her work has been included in many anthologies such as: Poetry of Presence: An Anthology of Mindfulness Poems, Healing the Divide: Poems of Kindness and Connection, and How to Love the World: Poems of Gratitude and Hope. Laura lives with her wife, Clara Gimenez, and their two romping canines, among the hills of Vermont.