My job is to water the garden.
I root for the underdogs,
the transplants we probably shocked
with cold and rain
when we moved them out of the guest room,
hopeful that they could thrive in the yard.
It's not that they're dying exactly,
except for the parsley, which is definitely dying.
More that they're frozen in time
snapshots of what they were on their last day indoors.
There's a metaphor in this, I suppose, and I remember
my father choking up in my dorm room
and down the hall as he rushed away from me
on that first day of my own transplanting.
For his sake I hope I've taken root,
that I tower over the child he left
in haste one end of summer.
My body in decline,
I try otherwise to grow
and hope he can see it
as he takes stock in his own backyard.
His mother controls their garden these days,
lording over the flowers and herbs
with an old watering can,
while I take to the yard with a hose or measuring cup,
envisioning late summer salads
tomatoes in jars,
to feed my budding family from the small plot of earth
in my charge,
hoping we didn't misread the frost charts,
or sever roots
while thinning out the sprouts we grew from seed.