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Container Gardening

Geranium, hosta, coleus,
lantana: beginner’s garden
pieced from advice and
no-fail nursery specials

planted in recipe soil—
made earth lugged home
in separate bags and
measured out on careful plastic.

Two stories up they settle into air,
sip water doled out by the cup,
dare not drip on
downstairs neighbors.

No chance rocks here or beneficial insects,
glass shards, arrowheads, no earthworms
crawl among these roots, no weeds invade
and partial shade is all I have to offer.

I place each plant precisely,
add fertilizer, make the rain,
note blossomings and witherings,
apply attention—plainest form of love.

Still, I feel no gift for this,
distrust each curling leaf,
know when I banish from this garden,
the fall from grace is mine.

next poem


Container Gardening

Distant Relation


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©2004 Ellen Steinbaum

My photo on the home page is by Peter Urban.
The cover of my book, Afterwords, was designed by Kate Misail.
The Painting on the cover of Afterwords is by Eric Sealine.
The painting on the cover of Container Gardening is by Faith Hochberg.

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