garden, and gun






You be the garden      I leave      my boots in when I walk      barefoot
after drought. Do to me what no one has done. What
can I do but undo      you by asking   for more
than was asked before?      Make the lake a cloud. The field needs rain
again. Again? Again. One      butterfly is torture,
flower-faced, a teaser. The wolf           cannot discern the dead
lavender from the living: neither is lavender. Red is always hunger; yellow, possession,
but blue is nothing      if not      contrast. Only kill
what you can eat. How      do you know   what’s poison? One skipper’s tongue
is the length    of another’s wingspan. Monarchs taste milky like the ditch they
feed in. Glutton,       never eat enough to kill, only sicken.
The wolf regards all movement as red      and beyond red, heat.


“garden, and gun” from Do Not Rise, by Beth Bachmann, © 2015. All rights are controlled by the University of Pittsburgh Press, Pittsburgh, PA 15260. Used by permission of the University of Pittsburgh Press.

Beth Bachmann is the author of Temper, a collection of poems about the murder of her sister, which won the AWP Donald Hall Prize and Kate Tufts Discovery Award. Her second book of poems, Do Not Rise, from the University of Pittsburgh Press, was selected by poet Elizabeth Willis for the Poetry Society of America’s Alice Fay di Castagnola Award. More from this author →