by Jennifer Saunders
The average person keeps thirteen secrets,
five of which she will bury in the garden
not as seeds, but as corpses.
She will disguise the troubled earth
beneath raspberry canes and peppermint,
run elderberry and quince along the fence line
and watch them multiply.
Dirt and ground cover, forget-me-nots.
One of these secrets will involve
a violation of trust. Like a cicada,
it will reemerge after seventeen years
unless a change of weather
alters ground temperatures. Then,
it may rise early, or late, but never
not at all. You need to understand that:
some things buried always rise—
like seeds that lay dormant for a decade
then germinate and burst to life
in a super bloom that can be seen from space:
Colter’s lupine, Mojave aster, larkspur
all break the surface
in the right set of circumstances.
What, after all, is a corpse in a garden
nutrients seeping into the soil
to return in a new form,
woven into the living
and feeding the fruit.
Jennifer Saunders is a poet living in German-speaking Switzerland. Her poems and reviews have appeared or are forthcoming in Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, Dunes Review, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, San Pedro River Review, Spillway, Stirring: A Literary Collection, and elsewhere. She holds an MFA from Pacific University and in the winters she teaches skating in a hockey school.