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Community Garden

by
  I watch the man bend over his patch,   
a fat gunny sack at his feet.
He combs the earth with his fingers, picks up pebbles around tiny heads of sorrel.
Clouds bruise in, clog the sky, the first fat drops pock-mark the dust.
The man wipes his hands on his chest, opens the sack, pulls out top halves of broken bottles, and plants them, firmly, over each head of sorrel — tilting the necks toward the rain.
His back is drenched, so am I, his careful gestures clench my throat, wrench a hunger out of me I don't understand, can't turn away from.
The last plant sheltered, the man straightens his back, swings the sack over his shouler, looks at the sky, then at me and — as if to end a conversation — says: I know they'd survive without the bottles, I know.
He leaves the garden, plods downhill, blurs away.
I hear myself say it to no one: I never had a father.

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