Community Garden, Wisconsin, 9 Months Pregnant

Footworn rut, dillweed,
overgrown squash. The vapor
of hose water and hot, early
September. I find trash
buried in the dirt: a 70’s era Weeble,
a plastic Dannon lid,
yards of decaying twine.

What rises next spring
depends on me, although the green
is unstoppable, raspberry bushes
ripening berries each year,
abandoned plots overwhelmed
with volunteer tomatoes, their fruits
smaller with each return of warmth.

On Sunday, we sing praise to something
less sure than this adamant garden,
to a hope for light even as nights
elongate across Lake Mendota docks
and Black Earth crops.

Time, what surety can you offer
to our shrinking hold on the earth,
hands like shards of prophesy?
You patiently paint each watered leaf
in gray. You wear away the gravel walk.

In another garden, years from this one,
I will wonder what I thought I was owed that summer.
How my veins pulsed like fiddle strings
in round with the ancient creed
of growing things. Some choices
are made more by wilderness than by us.


Poem by Hannah Marshall


Hannah Marshall lives in south-central Illinois, where she works as the advising editor for Greenville University’s literary journal, The Scriblerus, and as the poetry editor for South 85. Her poems have appeared in Poetry Daily, New Ohio Review, Anglican Theological Review, The Madison Review, and others. She received her MFA in creative writing from Converse College.