This is what you plant

when you wake up after

too many nightmares

of former lovers

still conniving and deceitful,

of current friends lost

due to lies about a fence

in a neighborhood that once

had a victory garden

in every backyard.

First, I marked the boundaries

with concrete planters

filled with pansies,

mostly yellow and deep red.

The kitchen window boxes are rotting

and filled with tiny ants

but my husband built them

so they will be filled

with blue lobelia and

the sturdiness of red geraniums

for one more summer.

Red clay containers of herbs:

chives, basil, thyme and parsley

sit beside more clay pots of

dill and mustard seeds, all within

the confines of an old garden fence

held together by crabbing twine,

shards of old glass and wire mesh

below the dirt and worms to ward off

the persistence of groundhogs.

Red potatoes and yams have emerged,

protected by scatterings of

marigolds from jessicapierce.

Where once we had two ducks,

I planted Russian Sunflowers,

beets, leaf lettuce, and bell peppers

with one tomato plant,

for my husband who pulled out all

the weeds, Bay Ridge mint, and

lemon balm, because I asked.

When I say vengeance, I mean

I woke up wanting to kill whoever

was chainsawing at 7am on a Saturday;

When I say vengeance, I mean

I generally garden in silence

but my anger at what was going on

twenty feet away, over the fence

forced me to plug in an old radio,

cranked up to the worst FM station

to drown out the cursing and fighting.

Taking a break, I asked my husband to sit

outside while I worked.

In New Jersey, there's a small window

between too much rain, not enough rain,

and the onslaught of mosquitoes.

Determined to get this done

with a clear blue sky and no humidity,

the music they played tugged at my heart

as I tugged at ragweed, planting

the last of the seeds,

which I hope grow and flourish,

if only for a small victory.

As I watered everything, I danced,

not caring who was around

because it was a song worth dancing to

and it made my husband laugh.

If you were me, perhaps you would not

have danced, but some times

victory feels better than vengeance.

He, as if we both worked hard in the sun,

went inside to sleep, and perhaps

it was enough for today.

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