Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Spelunking

The damp dark ground in my head
when I was twenty let the spores
I took into my mouth grow mushrooms
so fat that I opened up a roadside
stand, my sign reading, "fungi
for sale." After each harvest,

I opened up my head for the sun
to warm my soil, the hinge so stiff
I had to use all of my strength.
Earthworms went deeper. My eyes--
the pupils so large I could see
inside a cave, without a torch,

without radar pinging off the walls--
scared the tourists back into
their cars, engines already running.
I scared myself. I was afraid
of them, too. I only wanted
a gardener to come and turn over

my dirt with her spade. My sign,
up close, read, "gardener wanted."
And now when oak, maple, and spruce
trees fill my head, enough space
between them to keep the ground lit,
and when my gardener helps me grow

daffodils and tulips each spring,
peonies in the summer, I look
onto rooms in the afternoon, squares
of light on the floor, the curtains
blown back from the windows, the drone
of an airplane overhead, needing no more.




One of the hardest poems to write is the love poem. I wrote this love poem for my wife. It appeared in Gulf Coast in 1998.