Gardener in the Wild

"Girl in White" by Vincent Van Gogh

You come out of the Torah, through
Russian pogroms and the fucking Nazis
and find yourself in Brooklyn worrying
over a natural world a world away.
For a Jewess, it’s genocide and otherness
with no names of titans as a recompense,
as a boy gets, Einstein, Marx, Freud, etc.

The Jewess is a constant gardener of her
backyard plot. Now she is running inside,
half-cracked, menaced not by bees but
recollection. The sky was illuminated
gray and is darkening fast. Hours pass.

Now she is ginned up and running back
out there, trampling her living jewels.
Some as-yet green tomatoes will survive
this rampage, her heels a softer hell
than hail. They’re looking for her.

Dragnet comes up empty because she’s
never there. She weeds weeds, unwinds
morning glory vines from pepper plants,
so we know she is out there. The constant
gardener loves clippers in her hand,

editorial demeanor demeaning what’s dry,
unintended, or bitten by unseen squirrels,
but really does just enough to keep it
going, barely anything, it’s a pose,
the constancy of the gardener, a stance.

Half-cocked, having read that trauma
rides epigenetics into future generations.
Thanks for the news. A person knows
her own recoiling from the world. Odd
campaign against your name and you.

The web versions of our print articles are now hosted by Duke University Press, Tikkun’s publisher. Click here to read an HTML version of the article or to download the PDF version.

Tikkun 2017 Volume 32, Number 4:54

Jennifer Michael Hecht is a teacher, author, poet, historian, and philosopher. She was an associate professor of History at Nassau Community College and now teaches at The New School in New York City.
tags: Poetry, Poetry & Fiction, Spirituality   
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