The Gardener on Rustaveli By Timothy B. Dodd

Oh — what did he say, Tamari?
Did he ask why
every new building cuts
his work in half?
Did he ask why
the roads are black and hard?
Did he ask why
the birds must swerve
in a feast of dust?

I wanted to understand —
his soiled hands, what they had fed, freed.
For, you know, who listens today?
— to the running of the land
and the river — unless it’s to change
its course. They say he speaks gibberish
now. But not me. I wanted to say
in his old language, “Please, sir,
show me all the differences,”

your efforts, your dreams in little plants
getting stepped on, this old space hanging
a bit longer in clouds of diesel and damned
youth docked in vogue and denim, no kiss
for dirt. For, old man, your flowers and ferns,
sweetly arranged like your earned smile, soon
must run to the unwanted mountains,
abandoned lands, and narrow valleys, a last
chance to flourish, to nurture wrinkles,
to grow in soil and spring old truths.

Timothy B. Dodd is from Mink Shoals, WV. His poetry has appeared in The Roanoke Review, Stonecoast Review, Ellipsis, Broad River Review, and elsewhere. He is currently in the MFA program at the University of Texas El Paso.

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