My son says the garden is dying.

Every August, it’s the same.

The cucumbers, which had clambered

so fiercely up the lattice

and across half our garden square,

begin to yellow and wilt.

The peppers brown.  They soften.

Tomatoes explode across their vines, manic –

they bear more fruit than the days can hold.

Look there, I tell him, see that space?

Next year’s garden is already growing.

Seeds are in the ground,

gift of the fallen.

We could do nothing

and, by June, there would be more tomatoes.


He sees, I am certain, in only two dimensions

– what is before him, and what he remembers.

We could do nothing.  Nearby, my mother

dies in slow motion, surrounded

by four walls, a window

she doesn’t look through,

cut flowers.  All her words

from these last, long months

wouldn’t bend a blade of grass.

We could do

nothing.  My son and I

uproot the cucumber plants,

the peppers.  I wish I were strong.

Eyes will open to the green and new.

I try to picture

the garden to come.

Joseph Cilluffo has had over 100 poems published. In addition to Philadelphia Stories, his poems have appeared in journals such as The Schuylkill Valley Journal, Apiary, and Philadelphia Poets. He was the Featured Poet for the Fall 2014 Edition of the SVJ, which nominated his poem, “Light”, for the Pushcart Prize. Joe’s first book of poetry, Always in the Wrong Season, was recently published by Kelsay Books and is available on Amazon.com.