Kathryn Kirkpatrick

At 65, the Garden

Just then, I noticed that the honeysuckle vines
had grown, were growing over junipers
and gold-leafed spirea, up the spires
of the forsythia, and quite calmly
and deliberately I reached for the new
secateurs, and cut free first one prickly
green arm of juniper and then branches
of spirea. I wasn’t yet ready for it all
to go back to the mountain, not yet
ready to give up on a loved, ordered
beauty. Though perhaps now I was willing
simply to stop for the day, cut only
what I could reach with some ease,
strain over very little and certainly
not risk a tumble down the steep hill.
I cut back what I could and noticed
the difference of even that small, quiet
gesture of care. It was winter, or something
like it and still, there was more I could do.



Kathryn Kirkpatrick is the author of seven collections of poetry, including three recipients of the NC Poetry Society’s Brockman-Campbell award. The Fisher Queen: New & Selected Poems (Salmon, 2019) received the NC Literary and Historical Society’s Roanoke Chowan Poetry Prize