Early autumn in the garden finds
me weeding, chopping away dead
yucca spires, their white bell blossoms
distant in memory. My fingers comb
ivy and vinca for fallen leaves
that crumble in my hands. I think
of crimes against my loved ones,
count my sins, pull at spider webs
and chickweed, stubborn at the root.
I make my piles, gather the detritus
of trees into bags set against the curb.
I sweep the sidewalk, edge a trowel's
blade beneath a hardy clutch of clover.
Even in drought, the barely living cling
like runners on a fencepost, adamant.
My roses, staked and tied to the wire mesh,
wilt on the stalk, feebly pink. Still,
the honeysuckle persists, fragrant, wild,
and berries will ripen in the winter days to come.