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Sunday, August 04, 2019


by Joan Mazza

The garden blooms again in profusion,
offers snow peas and sugar snaps,
lettuces green and crisp. The tomatoes
have never tasted so good. Maybe
the heavy spring rain kept the ground
moist during  a critical window, maybe

it’s the usual cycle of the earth. Hands
in the dirt provide distraction,
the sense of doing something useful,
healthy, with an outcome you can eat—
most basic feeling of security. Logs
on the wood pile cure for winter
while you can tomatoes, pickle cukes.

Without TV or radio, without knowledge
of the height of children, you’d never know
the year. Gardens’ bountiful vegetables
are an annual constant, a salve.
In Dayton and El Paso, the experts
are closing out crime scenes, taking

photos, mopping up blood, notifying
next of kin. When you hear the number
of injured victims along with the dead,
you won’t know how their lives have been
altered to live with chronic pain and fear.
How many young men are cleaning their
guns and counting their bullets today?

Joan Mazza has worked as a medical microbiologist, psychotherapist, and has taught workshops nationally with a focus on understanding dreams and nightmares. She is the author of six books, including Dreaming Your Real Self (Penguin/Putnam), and her work has appeared in Rattle, The MacGuffin, Valparaiso Poetry Review, and The Nation. She lives in rural central Virginia, where she writes a poem every day and is working on a memoir.