he knelt on dirt-covered ground, picking weeds
like words. He collected dictionaries in his mind,
bent over tomatoes and green beans,
he pulled the roots from his own language.
Sharp, he shouts. Delirium, dementia.
He plants them in long rows, corn cobs growing
from books. They are explained in synonyms,
thesaurus of memory. Fixate. Fetish. Fetter.
Words to be kept on the tongue, like the dirt
under his nails. They come in the form
of answers, begging to be questioned,
seedlings begging for water.
They flourish with colorful blossoms.
His enriched idiom lines my garden
like the pages of a notebook.
I kneel, digging through dirt, shoveling
the earth to make room for seedlings,
preserving the memory of him.
Carla Kaufman is a Midwestern poet inspired by true life. She has a number of local publications in Julien’s Journal, and Loras College literary magazines, Outlet and Alpha. She also has two poems forthcoming in The Paterson Literary Review. She graduated with dual Bachelor’s degrees in English: Creative Writing and English Literature from Loras College. She has all required credits towards her MA in English at UNI. Her hobbies include singing karaoke, supporting local music, attempting to be an artist, painting, photography, swimming, floating, diving, dunking, whistling, high fives, waving to strangers (it’s an Iowa thing,) eating organic super foods and taking the boyfriend and dog out for a walk. She currently resides in Dubuque, Iowa where she is working on a book of poetry.