The Gardener – a poem by Mary Durocher

The Gardener

Her name was Rose. She sewed dresses for the girls
who stepped up to the altar and made their First Communion.
My mother scorned the gaudy options in the shopping mall,
she swore to me I wouldn’t be a little bride. So, one Sunday,
she tapped on Rose’s shoulder and asked for a favor.
I was obliged to one fitting. She offered a plate of Pizzelles
as my mother tried church gossip. Rose’s father sat mum,
hunched in his La-Z-Boy armchair. Before we left,
he broke his silence and offered a tour of the garden.
An oasis grew out of a city plot’s malnourished soil.
He gifted us bunches of lettuce, handfuls of zucchini, 
and pints of cherry tomatoes. I didn’t want to go.
My communion dress ended up plain and dove white
against a mirage of cream-colored ruffles and frills.
Weeks after, my mother told me the old man was dead. 
Rose had risen from her sewing machine and found
her father in the garden. His cheek was pressed to the earth,
his fingernails were full of dirt and his blue eyes rolled back.
The pear trees and grapevines slumped in grief. I was a child,
but I too wanted to lay down on the earth, reaching out
for fresh seedlings as my soul was let loose.

Mary Durocher is a poet from Schenectady, New York. She also writes fiction, non-fiction, and cultural criticism. She’s a graduate of Marymount Manhattan College, where she studied English & World Literature and Creative Writing. Her work has recently appeared in The Carson ReviewLaid Off NYC, and KGB Bar Lit. She lives in Queens, New York. 


  1. Thomas Smith says:

    Hi, Sarah,

    I don’t know if it’s just my computer, but your last two Amethyst have arrived without a poem body. Title and the rest, but no poem. Is anybody else experiencing this?



    1. Sarah says:

      Hi – not doing anything different this end. Glad at least you can read the poems on the site!



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