Karen An-hwei Lee
A LESSON IN THE GARDEN, OR A SEASIDE DYSTOPIA CONFESSES UNREQUITED LOVE AND WAR
You cannot see the war from this seaside garden –
yet each one draws nigh: a swelling tide of algal biofuel and God.
By night, the mantle of a ruined world glows in its flaming, cavernous heart.
By noon, a glow-torch bougainvillea
dies in the arms of winter, then regenerates
in the spring. A gardener, whose son returned from the war, plants
a single non-fruiting olive,
virginal in its fire resistance, serene in its immunity
to xenophobia and famine alike. Is it not a waste to fight what attacks over
and over, a terminal disease, a relentless vector of hate?
The gardener says, this war, too, is my ravaged son: One small moment in history
is the desolation of centuries
of unwitnessed violence.
The one who goes to war,
and one who instigates war,
in the end, are one
and the same: the same one who dies, one way
or another. Aliquid stat pro aliquo –
for something else.
Photo Credit: Lexi Clarke