Original poetry by Gwynn O’Gara


Her Garden

I think I’m gardening, bending over beds in the morning sun,

pulling up the white legs of bindweed and laying down

lemon balm for green mulch around the tomatoes.

Scrub jay visits. Flies really close to the back of my head,

squawking, asking and telling in her urgent tense.

Zwreek! She questions my every task.

Zwreek! Coasting from the lemon tree to the fence,

she says the strawberries her beak has pocked are so-so.

That I should let all the blackberry seeds she scatters grow.

Never mind the thorns, how they’ll take over the beds.

Don’t cut! she shrieks. Let the canes flourish, and the oaks.

Don’t pull those seedlings. She needs acorn mast

and the tonic berry. Forget garlic and artichoke.

My visit. Her garden. Blackberries and oak.

 © Gwynn O’Gara, Fixer Upper, 2007


Oyster Shells

Waves deliver you halved at the hinge,

your discus-shaped valves smashed to pieces.

Sweet the creature cut from you.

The outline of its days ridge your core.

Others drilled a den in your armor or

clung to you and rooted. They grew and

you grew around them. We hold people

and things breaking apart. Empty spaces

rock at night in the dream-sea. Trust is

a difficult task, but would the Mother

of all things leave us unprotected?


© Gwynn O’Gara. Finalist of the Ina Coolbrith Award, 2010