The World As Garden

Twenty-five years ago we knew each other,

who the other would become.

Before dogs, homes, gardens,

or a partner in whom your heart could rest,

even then,

there was the foretelling of a time

when we would gather at your table, under your arbor,

our fingers greedy piglets rushing around the platters.

Were my daughters visible to you then?

Their beauty, their animal grace?

Did you know the joy I would find in being a mother?

How is it we know each other?

Remember our lunch-time game?

Blind Man’s Bluff, played in art museums.

Eyes shut, I could see those paintings.

Your words. My imagination.

How perfectly they merged.

I close my eyes and hear your voice.

A light in the darkness, a path through the woods,

The not-seen coming into sight.

Games of the spirit.

Reconstituted worlds.

How is it we know each other?

Easy familiarity of kitchen and garden.

I bring you a variegated fallopia from my shade bed.

Vigorous, I say. Glorious. Give it plenty of room.

I report on the coreopsis you have given me and the Lisa Marie lavendar. 

We agree to replant the upright Tuscan rosemaries

that are dying at both our houses.

The children come in with blackcap raspberries.

Karl and Paul sit outside, drinking coffee.

Twenty years ago you left on my desk a torn picture.

A casual circle drawn around the caption–

our world is your garden–

And I felt that you knew me.

©Joan Stockbridge

September 18, 1999

For another look at this friendship, 15 years later, see  A Persistent Joy .