Thursday, January 13, 2022

Ghost Garden by Jason Fisk

She lived alone in the middle part of the country
In a little blue ranch house with white trim
She loved her family and her garden
The grandkids helped her weed
when they visited from out of state
She would reward them
with cinnamon candy
and iced tea

She used to straighten the house
every night before bed
I once asked her why
and she told me
that it was for the paramedics
She didn’t want them
to see a dirty house
when they came
to take her away

She told me that she
was just waiting
to go be reunited
with Grandpa Earl
in heaven

After her funeral
I went to the blue house
and walked inside
It was clean
which made me smile

I walked to the back
and opened the sliding glass door
and saw her garden
The overgrowth reminded me
of how long it had been since I’d visited
An aching loss churned in my stomach

And then I noticed a sweet little rosebud
peeking through the purple and green
of the inhospitable thistle
and I started pulling
the weeds away
from the base of the rose
My arms and hands torn
by the various thorns
It somehow felt right

I went into the garage
and got a shovel
and a bucket
and I dug the rose up
and put it in the bucket

I drove to her new grave
and planted it
where I imagined
her heart would be

Jason Fisk lives and writes in the suburbs of Chicago. He has worked in a psychiatric unit, labored in a cabinet factory, and mixed cement for a bricklayer. He was born in Ohio, raised in Minnesota, and has spent the last few decades in the Chicago area. He has a novel, The Craigslist Incident, coming out in June.

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