My little garden is in shadow. Beyond the beige brick wall surrounding it, the sun shines.
The tree outside the wall stretches its long, lanky branches to the light. Its green lacy leaves dapple my view of the blue sky.
Silver-green heart-shaped leaves of the hydrangea vines climb up and over the wall, to escape their potted roots and reach for the sun.
The birdbath stands in a litter of withered leaves and flower petals. Its tea-colored water is still. A green mossy mold grows in its basin.
Brown song sparrows watch me from the tall, lace-leaved tree. Their chirp, chirp, chirping scolds me for the empty feeder as if they know two large bags of seed are stored in my cupboard.
Grief sits in my lap, holding me immobile.
I sit where my mother would sit to watch me putter in the garden, telling me where to place a plant, how to tamp down the soil around it.
Now I miss her bossy directions. Now I hear her encouraging words.
A potted vinca unfolds strands of soft sage leaves across the patio and touch the leg of my chair.
I stand to feed the birds.
Louise Novotny took some writing classes during her retirement. Dabbling in poetry and memoir during the pandemic. Searching for her voice even at age 67.