I've been tending your garden and
planted you more flowers,
bleeding heart the only plant name
I remember - my heart's been the same.

I've been cutting your lawn
first the front, weeding as I go
I hear the spring bulbs we planted
grew where we put them.

I didn't get to see them bloom
I was south preparing the condo
you were finally ready to give yourself
and were eager to live in, if you'd lived.

I cut with my small mower
night after night, into the dark
using the lights you hung on our house
to guide me until I couldn't see.

I've keep the cat for you, too.
Making her part of the work
I do everyday, to keep everything
as if you might come home.

But that lawn I never liked anyway
Seems to know my heart of indifference
toward it. It keeps growing faster
than I can cut, chop or tear it down.

Exhausted, I went back out today
to wage my battle against the blades
of grass with the small mower blade
step by step, back and forth.

Discouraged yet determined I hacked away
first the front lawn, then the patch by the shed.
But today, the neighbor with the two barking dogs
you fed bones to everyday joined the battle.

Quietly, he circled and came up on the flank
plying his tractor over the foot-tall growth.
Offering, over the noise, only an acknowledging nod
in response to my mouthed "thank you".

He reminded me of you,
steady, full of purpose and kindness.
I cried behind my dark glasses
in gratitude and from sadness.

I've lost you but found
parts of myself I'd tucked away
and the grace and kindness
of neighbors and friends.

You would only smile at my discoveries,
knowing that once I learned that I didn't
have to fight all battles alone,
I would discover the truth of your love.

09 October 2004