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Long Beach, CA

Huntington Gardens

The old man who tends the gardens has such deep regret
I know because of how he holds the hoe and his head and because he would not look at me as I said “hello"
Though my daughter did get him to crack a smile

Some old men are like boats that settle into the ocean’s swell, even if the swell is sorrow, for miles 
And somehow I know that hoeing these rows is his penance (though his sin I’ll never know)
As he earns enough to sit with cold beer on his warm porch and watch the sun go down, before treading back to these demanding plods of dirt, like divas which will sing for you but, should you forsake them, will let themselves go

I do not know if his redemption lies in the simple furrows
But over many seasons they do make a sort of poetry which is sent out into the world like hope
We watch it grow

And I hope he knows
That picking weeds is a way of setting our world right again
And his posture a fixture of faithfulness which shows us all how to be in the work of any good thing
By simply leaning in, again and again, until the end 

This winter is clad in cold colors, gray and brown
And no one will make a startled sound until the rose bushes blush
And we all fawn for the beauty, as the birds sing

I hope then, as the crowds stamp these grounds,
That the sad man will lean his weight on his tall tools and stop and sigh 
And, if he’s lucky, smile, 
Underneath a warm, blue sky 


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