That’s It

I’d mowed and cut and weeded
tips of fingers, earth- inked

I’d heard our cardinal calling
I’d heard our engines down the valley groaning
coming up, distant, moaning

hands between dry stems of garlic moving,
like my mother kneeling, devout
but not in church

I’d yanked contentious weeds, insisting,
grabbing, pulling —this was how I worked:
so much sweat I wore a perspiration shirt

I’d quit and picked my tools up:
shovel rake— and shut the hose off
at the door I took my boots off
smacked them sole to sole to knock the mud off
and turned to see your garden blazing
with inner light in daylight failing
I cracked a beer and sat— amazing!

I watched your garden’s still fires burning
it’s orange lilies burning
its incandescent red & purple gladiolas burning
its spiky flush of bee balm burning
rose campion bursting in the burning
sparking coral bell and yellow lupine burning
moonbeam coreopsis burning

all in   all on   still all    all lit
until the mountain’s shadow eased the fire’s edge off
as petal embers in its dying spit
as if some hand had turned a dimmer of the sun
to gently cauterize the done
to douse the blaze
to ease the day off
to say, that’s it

by Jim Culleny

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