Rob Ostrom | OL02 | Fall 2021

Memory Keeper of the Garden

Under the hot sun succumbed by the smell of fresh cut grass

The sound of garage doors opening and closing,

birds chirping, dragon flies lying around the sky,

close enough for its wings to slap your face.

The ugly sight of that ashy gray shed filled with spider webs,

wasp nests and of course the never-ending gallons of brown urine.

Surrounded by a grey wooden fence on the bend of the block.

So much space yet nowhere to run

it was our place to work and to learn.

How to plant seeds, how to pull up weeds,

how to harvest crop, how to rake leaves and hoe the dirt.

It was our worst nightmare when we were locked out there

at night with only the dim patio light.

In the garden was our spot, across from the shed.

It was our place to escape and be free.

Our spot in the garden was a playland.  No grass grew there.

We dug it up.  A non-shallow ditch.

We’d sit there for hours playing, pretending,

talking and dodging life.

We visited our spot daily for hours on end until the sun went down

and the crickets started singing.

Years later the garden was revisited,

it was no longer there.

No tomatoes, no okra, the corner section with a bed of greens

and turnips wasn’t there.

There was no life there.

There were no kids playing in the background.

Just a lonely grape vine withering away.

The garden no longer existed.

It was just a memory suppressed in our heads.

1 Comment

  1. Rob Ostrom

    Wow. I love how this poem captures this special place, a place of beauty and refuge.

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