Instead of roses she planted cat mint,
reasoning its use as bulging protrusions
inside hand-sewn mice. Then yesterday morning
she discovered that an errant, desperate paw
had relentlessly clawed at plastic edges,
lifting again and again
until the obstacle was caught by wind,
and expectations revealed.
The biodegradable peat container was still embedded
in the fake-Grecian urn, but the clear protection against frost
had vanished completely, and the young plants
disgorged, upturned, and leafless, lay
a dozen yards from his flowers.
He was so grandiflora,
brass water breakers, sprays, fertilizers, trimming only
where there’s a five leaf stem. Reds. Whites. Peach-tipped.
Yellows. Especially yellows – golden yellow, buttery yellow,
Nepeta was small rebellion;
simplicity in the face of conspicuousness;
earthy start to a planned array of aromatic,
often culinary herbs, vibrantly close to the backdoor,
like a tourist photo of southern France.
Is this how it’s done there, too, she wondered,
in the natural world of feral and unrestrained?
Gnaw a moment’s excitement straight from soil,
even at the cost of the garden;
love all things to destruction?
He – grafting new life onto old standards.
She – grasping the arm of a lawn chair for balance
as she stooped to gather exposed roots
no longer renewable.