When Edgar awoke to a dissipating fog

outside the bedroom window

where he and Julia were wont to hold one another

the snow was melting


Soon the buds of springtime would begin to swell

The accumulation of leaves against

his ordinary chain linked fence

bothered him most,

second only to the wrinkled October tomato vines,

the defunct salsa garden he and Julia planted,

her yet to sprout herbal domain –

the spearmint leaves she dipped into morning tea


Saddened at her garden’s demise,

Edger pondered his life into the coming nature cycle,

their plantations of high hopes ravaged last August

by marauding squirrels,

grubs sliming through Julia’s plantings,

the prospect of the return of aphids into her flower beds,

leftovers on pear trees dried to nubs


Edger had no choice but to think of his grass whip,

mulching or be left with patches of naughty weeds


The books he intended to read in Julia’s absence

sagged on the shelves of their once treasured library


His fireplace wood had molded:

infested by borer bees

that scattered throughout his living room

from the three logs he lit on a January night

when he had planned to pour a glass of wine,

prop his feet on an ottoman and blubber about Julia




“Oh, what the hay,” Edgar cursed

“Why not just burn the whole damn joint down?

Wear a hair shirt for chrissakes,

meditate as Buddhists do,

transmigrate into deism,

rubberband what’s left of hair into a ponytail,

haul water from a stream,

hammer up a simple outhouse over a trench,

dig a compost”


Had Julia been at the kitchen table sipping lukewarm tea,

she would have compiled her queenie list

for Edgar to scratch off item per item,

check the results, wisecrack about his artlessness


Now, he was forced to change bed sheets without her help,

wash and fold underwear neatly per Julia’s deathbed instructions,

work up the energy to empty the trash,

shovel a path through the snow for the mailman


With breast cancer dragging her into the nether world,

Julia tried to make it painless for him to say goodbye

He could see that now; how she pulled the whole deal off —

left a dish of her special eggplant lasagna in the freezer,

slices of peach pie, each slice individually wrapped in foil,

his favorite, and two loaves of her potluck renown banana bread


Years of Julia’s recipes sat fingerprinted with lard

in heirloom tin boxes,

mysterious in their cryptic jargon,

unfathomable to the culinary neophyte


“So much to do, not a soul to help,” Edgar sighed


“Oh, Edgar,“ he could hear Julia snapping orders

through the kitchen window: “Cut it out, will you?

Stop feeling sorry for yourself, you moron

Just get on with the program, damn you!”


Program?  What program?

He had no program, only wishes

He wished for the magical return of the lawn:

front terrace mowed trim for appearances;

backyard wild with prairie grass daydreams


He sat for hours on the cement garden bench

admiring the scattered groves of ornamental trees

soon to gambol and sway in summer breezes,

Julia’s “babies,” the twigs she watered so diligently,

and the slatted fence he nailed up as backdrop

for three rows of Country Gentleman corn


“Such a long wait,” Edgar sighed again,

between the last day of March,

and planting season