Elegy with Lawn Gnome–Lindsay Wilson

Elegy with Lawn Gnome– Lindsay Wilson

Something grows under my grass at night,
poking its whitecaps out from the earth

in a fairy ring. In the window above it sits
the ashes of a woman I cannot bury,

and since she has lost her eyes
I hide a cracked, faded lawn gnome

leaning on a toadstool between the wild roses
tell him to report to me each morning,

but he just says, Cottontail. He says, Blue jay.
He says, Nothing. That’s all he ever says,

and I confess I put those words in his mouth
because that’s what I do when someone dies,

put my words into things, and ask them to speak
for me, but I don’t want my words.

I want a new name for understanding,
more phrases for something lost.

My gardener names the ring’s bare
earth center the dead zone. But the dead

zone, I say, keeps growing like the swells
of a blue stone dropped into a pond,

and the gnome and I are tired of the dead
growing in our yard. The gardener

doesn’t trust the gnome, but tells me even
the dead zone eventually dies. At dusk

the gnome and I drink a few beers and stare
at the hole in our lawn where grass should be.

I’m sorry, I say, for putting my words
in your mouth, sorry for my inheritance

of fungus, these white caps like toes
exposed from a shallow grave.

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