for my grandfather, Miles
he tells me about the pollinators
he saw in the garden this morning going
about their duties. he sees the poetry
in everything, in the wings of fat bees
hovering above zucchini leaves,
the legs of beetles climbing up dark-green kale stalks.
i am trying to see the poetry
in the fact that i have had to sleep in my childhood bed
every night this summer, the summer i had planned
to walk cobblestone paths with the other poets,
learning about Wilde and Yeats; the summer
i planned to fall asleep time zones away.
yet plans changed, and every night i fall asleep
looking at my windowsill, at the plants i forgot
when i left for college three years ago.
my grandfather never forgets
to water plants. he would never
let flowers wilt on his windowsill.
he always finds time for the things he cares about.
one summer, he planted a bed of flowers
outside the kitchen window
so my grandmother could look at them
as she cooked. baked kale on the kitchen table,
fresh broccoli, steamed swiss chard and bush beans.
these last three years, i only had
these greens on occasion, as a side
on Thanksgiving or on a weekend visit when i could find the time.
but this year, this summer, i have had
tomatoes, beans, peppers, with nearly every meal,
have even helped tend to them
in the garden.
i am trying to see the poetry in this summer,
this summer of self-isolation and uncertainty, the summer in which
i am able to visit my grandparents every day,
the summer i remembered what roots are.
my grandfather shows me what to do
in the garden. i try
not to think of the dead plants on my windowsill,
try to think instead of the new things starting at my fingertips
as i kneel on the soil, dig my hands into the earth.
i am trying to listen to my grandfather talk
about the bees, beetles, and butterflies, trying
not to think about the irony
that the one summer the tomatoes do not have blight,
just past the barn, my grandfather goes every morning,
into the woods, the place in which he sees the most poetry.
sometimes he marks the dirt trails for me,
leaves sticks pointing toward wild-growing plants.
when i have time (which is often this summer),
i walk the same path he does, stop at the markers he left for me.
i think i am starting to see the poetry
in the drooped head of yellow trout lily, in the curl of ferns,
in the Pennsylvania creeper, the weeds, the ramps,
in the unplanned