In the Garden

You cry at the Sun Door then rush into the light.

Is it feathered there—is it lined with pliant mousy fats?
Is this where smell and sight combine? Are the roses lions’ heads?
Are the roses ornamental, or is their architecture more instructional?

They grow in rows from here and cast tall shadows on the fence.

Does the sun smell radiant underneath?
Does the earth smell like garlic greens and ramps?
Small wild oniony plants with slimy skins
and small smoking pollen puffer sacs?

Are you fully realized under the forsythia?

(By the church gate with the pointed spikes, wearing your warning bell.)

Were you steeped in gore—fang sunk in the gristle and squeak of wing?

You hear the sound of water boats and horns in the river to the east,
smell salts, consume white tender weltered stalks.
Your milky nictitating membrane alien as a goat’s eye.

You run toward me from the garden as I start to clap.
(Up the slanted staircase as I call you back.)

Clap, clap.

My gift, a bird, held gingerly so as not to completely kill.

One large wing fans from your open mouth—
its yellow feet are curled.

I beat the bird from your needle teeth
then kiss you on the lips exactly where the bird had been.


Cover of TLR's "Flight" issueRegan Good’s first book, The Atlantic House, was published in 2011. Poems from her manuscript The Needle have appeared most recently in The Paris Review, Fence, The Ladowich Journal, and Hinchas de Poesia. She currently teaches creative writing at the Fashion Institute of Technology.

“In the Garden” was originally published in Flight (TLR, Winter 2015).