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I Garden at the Edge of Autumn

I Garden at the Edge of Autumn

I Garden at the Edge of Autumn

by Dick Westheimer

There is so little left of the tomato plants.
Just a few weeks ago, they hung arrayed in their rows
like royal green gowns draped off limbs as tough
as tendons. Each was jeweled with fruit
which, when bitten into, juiced a warm viscid chin-trickle –
found me fending off yellow jackets
who sought the same nip I did of that first burst of skin.

Now, here at the edge of autumn, I’ve picked
the last hangers-on from the dried vines:
a few pear-shaped Romas, a giant Brandywine,
a pair of velvety Black Krim –
each an ornament of summer still holding on
to their stems – twined brittle and leafless,
a little carbon for the compost pile.

This afternoon, with age-ached hands, I untangle those remains,
rake the ground clean, and dig last year’s compost
into the bare bed. I prepare for the planting of garlics
which I’ll tuck in under a blanket of rotting leaves,
to sprout green next spring.

Dick Westheimer has—with his wife and writing companion Debbie—lived on their plot of land in rural southwest Ohio for over 40 years. His most recent poems have appeared or are upcoming in Rattle, Paterson Review, Chautauqua Review, Whale Road Review, Minyan, Gyroscope Review, Northern Appalachia Review and Cutthroat. More can be found here.