poem07 May 2018 08:00 am

There is only so long that a thing can be buried
before it starts dragging the rest of creation down with it.

‘We’re greedy little things,’ she tells me, ‘thirsty as diabetics,
from the moment consciousness baits us into these husks of ours

’til we’re dragged kicking and screaming into the dark hereafter.’
‘I’ve known plenty who’ve gone in their sleep,’ I insist.

‘Not enough,’ she wheezes. Angry roots varicose up the wrought iron gates
like the veins purpling the tops of her hands.

‘You ask me, it’s a minefield,’ she says, tilling the soil with a spade,
‘step in any direction and you chance hell opening up underfoot.’

She buries her spade in a jaundiced wrist that shoots from the loam
like a rabid mandrake root; the errant limb snaps like a celery stalk.

‘I feel a twinge of guilt now and then,’ she confesses, ‘wondering
if they’re just reaching out, in want of a helping hand.’

‘Why bother, then?’ I ask her. She shoots me a stink eye like I’ve just asked
the dumbest question in the world. Maybe I have. ‘Give them the run of the place,’

she spits, ‘and the roses’ll go straight to hell with them.’
She cracks me on the head with the flat of the spade.

‘Now you gonna get to work or you just gonna wait
’til it comes to you?’

illustration is Danse Macabre by Maitre des Heures de Françoise de Dinan

One Response to “The Lich Garden by James Edward O’Brien”

  1. […] poem “The Lich Garden” is this week’s featured poem on Polu […]

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