I’ve been working on editing a lot of my poems recently, and I found this to be one of the most satisfying revisions I’ve done. You can read the original here, which I posted awhile back. Sometimes I find editing to be even more rewarding than new writing. The real thing is sometimes hiding in what we thought we were trying to say, and I enjoy finding that real thing.


Late Summer Garden


The garden gone unwatered in summer

was like the long ash unraveling

the unsmoked cigarette between my lips,

stiff until the tubers give way and crumble

at my slightest awareness.

So I neglected it, full of guilt

because in Spring I enjoyed it

without effort, and took for granted

such generous showers that did my work

and asked nothing in return.

Now it looked at me with averted gaze

the way an old lover might turn away,

ashamed and conscious that I

had left her, it mattered not for what.


I uncoiled the long-sleeping hose

and turned the spigot, twisting silver webs

like ribbons around a maypole,

found a chair and sat there awhile

to pay the attention I had owed.

Neither of us looked directly,

we were too embarrassed,

the garden ashamed of its appearance,

looking withered by wildfire,

myself, penurious, withholding of

such bare and frail anatomies.

How easy was it to water

returning home from that graveyard shift,

eyes blighted by dread insomnia?

Finding no answer that satisfied,

I saw no reason to apologize,

nor did the garden accept my water

as a kind of guerdon, but let it sit

on the topsoil and suffocate.


Suddenly a bee, come from nowhere,

alighted from bud to phantom bud

as if to see what help the water gave,

if there was something left to salvage;

the last bee when others had moved on

who waited for my watering to come.

But why abandon it like I did?

Why, if its colorful pageantry

each homecoming was like some

victory bouquet — and all for

watering, that was all it took —

then why quit caring for it?

R. Charboneau

2 thoughts on “Late Summer Garden (Redux)

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