My mother kneels in the dirt, salts slugs.The garden is tame and well behaved,unlike my mother, who whispers, “You don’t belonghere,” as she yanks weed roots. She braces wire
in the earth, a soft curve ensnares blind tulipbulbs. My sister and I used to rubthe lamb’s ears until the velvet wore down.We watered its soil, but the tips browned
from touch. Mother drowned it, made us watchthe crawl of thirsty ants color it black.She warned us against touchingwhat was not ours.
The chicks and hens needed protection.She anchored her shovel, turned her back. [End Page 463]
jen edwards’s poetry has previously appeared or is forthcoming in The Normal School, The Pinch, and American Literary Review. She is a PhD candidate in English at Oklahoma State University. Currently, she is an associate editor of Cimarron Review.