The Secret Garden By Rita Dove

I was ill, lying on my bed of old papers,
when you came with white rabbits in your arms;   
and the doves scattered upwards, flying to mothers,   
and the snails sighed under their baggage of stone . . .

Now your tongue grows like celery between us:   
Because of our love-cries, cabbage darkens in its nest;   
the cauliflower thinks of her pale, plump children   
and turns greenish-white in a light like the ocean’s.

I was sick, fainting in the smell of teabags,   
when you came with tomatoes, a good poetry.   
I am being wooed. I am being conquered
by a cliff of limestone that leaves chalk on my breasts.
Rita Dove, “The Secret Garden” from Yellow House on the Corner (Pittsburgh: Carnegie Mellon University Press, 1989). Copyright ©1989 by Rita Dove. Reprinted with the permission of the author.

Source: Yellow House on the Corner (1989)

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