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Tess Gallagher: a poem

In the Company of Flowers

all day, coming away

like an ordinary person who

might have been at a till. Thinking

as I dug into earth of my mother

who, when my youngest brother

died, was taken in

by beauty, not as consolation

but because she found him

there as she made the garden.

Each day she tended it

he kept a little more

of her. If ever I doubt

the power of the dead, I walk

her garden in May, rhododendrons

so red, so white their clustered goblets

spill translucent tongues of light at the rim

of the sea. And it is ordinary

to be so accompanied,

so fused to the silence of all that,

as it eludes me, as I am taken in.

Surely my reappearance must wear

the borrowed abundance she

gave me that morning

I was born.

Tess Gallagher is an American poet, essayist, and short story writer. Among her many honours were a fellowship from the Guggenheim Foundation, a National Endowment for the Arts award and a Maxine Cushing Gray Foundation Award. “In the Company of Flowers” is from Is, Not Is. Copyright © 2019 by Tess Gallagher. Reprinted with the permission of The Permissions Company, LLC on behalf of the author and Graywolf Press, Minneapolis, Minnesota,

1 Comment

Hélène Demetriades
Hélène Demetriades
Dec 28, 2022


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