by Janet I. Buck
Clouds are gray/green bottoms of an artichoke.
A connoisseur of vegetables
will tell you getting near the stem
is where it’s most delectable.
It’s rooted to the heart itself,
holds all the meat.
Growing old will argue this.
So will digging up the past.
I crave what’s green and tough enough
to handle what is coming next.
Moss that lines an ancient oak
never leaves its burly trunk,
shares its twigs to guard the nests
of finches or a mockingbird, protects the eggs
from wild abortions of a storm.
Along the cemetery wall,
khaki ivy’s dense enough
to cover bricks, pull a curtain over weeds,
keep passengers in passing cars from leering
at the weeping rites of funerals.
To find my mother’s grave again,
I straddle all the winding vines,
slip and slide on mud and rain like Vaseline.
Joints are swollen clothespins now,
their wires weak—I push ahead as if
there’s hope of finding her.
Grass has not been mowed for years;
it blocks a view I never had.
I’m always grabbing for the things I cannot grasp.
Maybe green is not a present after all.
Going here will make the hole wider than it ever was.