Various and Sundry Poetry

how gentle

despite the gathering rain
and the unkind wind
the gardener bent toward the earth
and dug just as deliberately as ever, eyes down,
not noticing the rest of the world
had hastened indoors toward
television sets and reheated dinners.

the air was thick as a mattress.
heavy as chimney soot, dark as a
fox thief poised on his hind legs, waiting.
no one else was interested
in this kind of weather,
the impending roil of an electricity tantrum.
instead, they turned up the heat inside,
made microwave popcorn,
read their horoscopes.

the gardener was mindful only
of the soil, the integrity of its
chemical composition, the ratio between
nutrient and mineral,
and earnest calculations followed
while inside the heated, halogened homes,
there was a rage
of infomercials.

i'm picturing the gardener's hands,
a matrix of skin and patience.
how gentle
the fingertips must be
for this work of pressing the earth,
coaxing a home for that one precious rooted thing
out of the feculent,
breeding chaos.