Camille T. Dungy

Daisy Cutter (II)

            (Beirut, 2006)


For those 36 days, his garden pined.  The plants he loved

conspired to claim him wholly on the evening he returned.


He’d have been lucky to find a snake among the weeds. 

Lucky with a scorpion.  The earth turned, his heart fell


to the plot his knee bones drove the knee skin in.

He’d have been luckier to find his bed overtaken


by dusty field mice. Small harm was what he’d hoped for,

but now some of his fingers are in amongst the peppers,


some in the lemon tree.  He’d have been lucky to cut his heel

on shrapnel.  Lucky to catch his blade on live wire


not this stray bit of a cluster, dark and ripe

as the grapes scattered below untended vines.


For 36 days the garden wasted.  The fruit moldered

and the delicate blossoms were overrun.  Every sinew


of his body was thrown into the plot he’d turned over.

Beside his sickle-wielding arm, radishes, cucumbers,


a chunk of his thigh bone, his tongue.