In the Garden
by Terry Cox-Joseph

He helped me plant yesterday, a chore
to earn computer time, keep Mom
off his back. Not a word of complaint.

His arms and legs are smooth, strong.
I watch thrust of shovel, prying
of roots, lifting of wet soil,

gift of youth. Squeeze the pot, I urge,
ease clumped roots, gentle. He tamps
soil with his size 10 foot, rearranges

pine mulch, surrounds tiny green
bush, Japanese holly identical twin
to boxwood. Yellow peppers next, bare

hands, small trowel. Nothing much
to look at but a clear vista of civilization.
Black soil yields, welcomes tomato plants.

On our knees, we pat. Seedling, relieved
of tasks, he returns muddied shovel
to dark garage, free of chores, nagging,

homework, on the cusp of sun
and shade. The copper watering can
feels secure in my grasp.

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