by Erica Sternin ©2014
Of little consequence to the speckled stone,
The gardener’s middle aged, possibly late stage, life.
Like a fly, like a gnat, her hummingbird mind
Cannot encompass geologic time.
She tosses the stone from her seedbed.
As volcanic ejecta, the speckled stone was Earth’s first daughter;
bouldered into a streambed
Where a slow moving lover caressed her ceaselessly,
Their intercourse pulverized her, carved a canyon.
Palmed briefly by the gardener, tossed to the verge,
The brief joy of flight recalls her pyroclastic beginnings,
The giddiness of being bladed by a glacier
From her riverlover’s bed to this hillside.
The gardener crouches in the dirt, squinting at errant seedlings.
She tweezes threadlike roots, fine as the hairs sprouting on her own damp chin.
A sudden vertigo, a fatigue, drags her to the ground,
Resting on her loamy pillow, noting the coital tang of water and minerals at the root zone,
The gardener’s weakened breath stirs nearby leaves.
Twining, they reach for her gently,
While the speckled stone looks on from the verge.
Erica Sternin is a librarian in Seattle. She has been writing poetry and creative non-fiction since she finished breast cancer treatment in 2012. Some of her work has been published in Poetry on the Buses, a project of King County Metro, and in One Sentence Poems.
“Unbeing dead isn’t being alive.”
― e.e. Cummings