Harp & Altar
POETRY
Jason Michael Bacasa
from There Was Electricity

Lynn Crawford

Elise Harris

Norman Lock
from Pieces for Small Orchestra

Eugene Marten

Miranda Mellis

The Deer and the Hedgehog and the Gardener
Jared White

Herein we describe plants as a function   of desire. This

Demands   a story of intellectuals in the fields

 

Of good old Mister Roderick, Johnny   Come Lately and

Sir Manqué. Rounding the bend   we come to a Roman Aquaduct

 

And ducked   under the arch. This deserves a dozen replays

In the media   having graduated from the library

 

To the inner ear   just shy of the cerebellum. If the book said

Keep your thoughts   to yourself, do. The plants are deafening

 

And if you hear these uneasy   noises, we may blush.

All the definitions involve shaking   us awake from imagining

 

And no one likes to be awakened   to actual facts.

That is why you’re here and why we   are tending the tomatoes.

 

Otherwise all we’d eat would be rice and millet.   Indentured

Servitudes.   Have you come around and kicked the tires?

 

There’s a passage in which the plants   did it by themselves

And even still there was a tendency   to make arrangements.

 

The gardener worked hard to make sure   everything is very beautiful

And edible also. With elbow grease the former   starts including me

 

With my dreadful innovations. Who dreads the legumes   of a mere

Roderick? I can always become   more hifalutin in passing

 

These annuals and those   London planetrees. When you remember

Unfortunately you don’t actually   remember. The story

 

Buries the story with this particular shovel.   By the hazelnut grove

We were educating   each other to our likes and dislikes, refinements

 

While Evelyn loved Roderick on her days   off. We laugh at such

Staff setups. From this angle you can see   the newest cultivars.

 

Even no one tending   is almost someone. For a while at least

We can nibble through. Is this boulder ersatz or   just too heavy?

 

I’ll never tell good parks   from the woods and good gardens

From a salad. The forest   as we walk forms rows of trees.

 

Let us then derelict our duties. This must be the mulch   and this

Your meditation rock. See here the Roderick   last seen

 

Mistaking poetry for fiction.   In the greenhouse he would not

Have erred. We call this the school within   the schools

 

Like at the gates of the garden I wondered   what were for.

Breezes that shook us in our travels   shock us with their gentleness

 

As we stroll under the galleries to where it was   we were going anyway

In conversation. How do you always do everything   so slowly?