Gardens

By Brian McCarty

We keep one eye to the sky, one fixed on parallel mounds

of tilled red loam. The blood knows

apocalypse, stirs as these new leaves stir

in the late spring breeze. The eye knows

the weather; the seasons become mantra.

We can’t explain the blossoms:

the cicada splits the back of its knuckled husk,

a dramatized lobotomy.

Sometimes we feel like Deucalion and Pyrrha,

tossing vulture bones over our shoulders

on the road to Bataan.

Those rattles we planted in March hatched

baby diamondbacks;

their gyrations startle the rabbits.

The wind chimes returned this year

but their chart-toppers were perennials.

Even the wind holds its breath in the mustards.

We buried Lazarus and the dust sprouted little Lazarus shoots,

then the bulb broke through.

Footprints climb from the back row of magic beans,

past the exit signs, trigger air raid sirens;

our search lights yield only shadows.

Were Jesus a carrot the rabbits would relish

the most perfect communion

this day by his side in paradise,

nibble by nibble,

spiritual vision tweaked by beta carotene.


Brian McCarty is originally from Hattiesburg, Mississippi, where he learned that humidity can warp both doors and the imagination. His poems have either appeared in or are set to appear in Lunch Ticket, Flyway, The Indian River Review, and Product. He teaches composition and literature at Kansas State University, where he earned his MA in 2013.