Now…at my age…here
…in this world…life
turns to smaller things.
A garden I can weed
in one day. A house
just big enough for me
and a guest or three. A
yard I can mow without
a motor. A neighbor-
hood where people say
hello, help each other,
look out for one another’s
runaway dogs, bicycling
kids. Mornings like this
I sit on my small patio,
beside a tiny triangular
woodland wildflower patch
transplanted from my old,
larger home, my former,
spreading gardens. In it,
only the round hearts of
spent bloodroot, blossom
gone, one wake robin
finishing, fulfilling its
trillium mission: three
sturdy stems, three broad
leaves atop, out of which
a triple-petaled flower,
color of blood, opens
then nods toward earth.
A scattering of immature
lilies of the valley who
won’t even think of
blooming for a few years
here. And thick-stemmed
Jacks-in-their-pulpits, only
one of the two put forth
flower. That elongated,
pale green cup lipped
over the dark, pipe-cleaner
Jack, like a striped umbrella
inside of which all work
of a world takes place.
Insects lured by scent
flounder in the flower’s
depths, pollinating in
their struggle to escape.
Between the two mature,
a tiny tripartite sprig. They
have spread. Will survive.
Behind it all a small white
fence surrounds a miniature
bench, birdbath, watering
can. The fairy’s garden
arranged by little nimble
fingers, my granddaughter’s
hands. One pillows softly,
sweetly, strongly, inside
my own. Feel life’s blood
flow from palm to palm?
Spark of knowing? Warm
trust, an arc of giving and
getting back? This, you
know, is the biggest thing
in a whole wide world.

While I write of other
small and beautiful
things, a pale green
inchworm falls from
an overhead tree onto
my page as if to say,
what about me? I brush
it away. But it stays—
a tiny dash, hunching
its way along my day.

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