Sabbath Garden
Susanna Childress  (bio)

After summer’s gorge, that long humid shrug
of heat, a heft, and past, into her waning, even the first
frost would not undo its work, still the fingerling

zucchini’s broad leaves browning and our tomatoes, green,
hanging in their cages, stems and leaves brittled black. A frost
will speak its truth, as over the night it rides some small

wind, crusting the tips of each thing in shadow. It does not
ruin, not yet. Some hardiness is ours: we can
—can’t we?—grow there, know the rake, the hoe’s

hand, like a grandfather’s uncertain palms, big as moonpaws
through our hair. Until it snows, too early, the uncarved
pumpkins slicked with a slight shell of ice. Not Frost’s

hoary glass from the water bucket, his apples
having done him in—it is sleep I think of, those three
raised beds, four red cabbage I planted late, my zeal

thick as any fool’s—what to do with so much? Heavy
heads, their catchment leaves, fanning out
like a great purple grace, tilted to the sod, ready for rest.

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