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Carve a path, child.
Carve a path around
the bushes, place the stones
that others leave behind in
patterns you’ll remember for
the music they create when
rain and melted snow from
crag and blustered
mountain fall.

Here are tools.
They are used but
good ones nonetheless:
compass, triangle—squares,
they’ll show up soon enough
with not necessarily right angles—
a length of twine for getting and
forgetting rules of symmetry, a
sieve to shake the background
noises to the back where they
belong. What’s left inside the
netted steel is yours to toss
or wear around your neck.

You ask about the seeds.
I’ve none to give. I’m forested,
my limbs to cabinets for guns
and vanities are marked,
but you, your pockets
and the space behind
your ears—that place they
always check and scrub
and scold you for—are
full of unconceived, the
seeds that nobody but
you can see. D. S.

Don’t Stop.
It’s a sign I made
when I was young
and still connecting
dots. I never found a
place to hang or post it
in my garden, though I’ve
known the pleasure once
or twice of hearing it.
You’ll hear it too.

And now I see
you’d like to know
does secret mean
that should you fall
asleep one night inside
your garden, you might
wake one day to find
the world outside has
moved away and left
you with your bottle
caps and robin eggs
and fine clear paths?

This I cannot answer.
Only you decide what
secret means; the world
can only turn, it has nowhere
to go but round and round
and doesn’t care.

Your garden, though,
has heights and depths
and passages, descents
and entryways to places
built for two or three or
fifty-three and thousands
more you may adore—
you made a door, I’ll bet
you didn’t notice, look,
it’s here, as sturdy as a
tree. With every choice for
happiness, you made it
strong, it floats like cork
and locked is safer than
the mint of Knox. Who holds
the key? No one. It’s here
inside this vanity that’s

I’m me
I am forever me
and that’s enough!

And now it’s time
for me to let you be.
Your garden’s built and
growing, and I spy a pair
of irises fast rafting down
the winter melt affixed on
you. Enjoy, my sweet
young architect, adieu!


© Elaine Stirling, 2013