She gently stepped over each corn row, early Spring,
decay somewhere below, vines like curls on a humid day.
Nothing ever flickered, reflecting the dry-south sun;
the shiny things were not of the ground, but instead, her mind.
She often stopped to picnic with winged-things, not people,
soldier ants and worker bees, citizens of her earth.

Whispers escaped there often, in the garden, from the earth;
the dialect of seasons, spoken tongue of Spring,
telling her of certain things, green things, little of people–
warning her of night-time seekers, championing the day.
Young, still, she accepted much, the opus of her mind,
heated not yet by flesh, but only the warming of the sun.

When old enough to question, she asked of the hill-set sun,
To which earth do I belong? The long-tilled fertile earth?
Or the far-flung living one? The inquiries of her mind,
an extended hand, in the form of wind, lead her into Spring.
All the answers here would come, but not in a single day;
lessons are long, concerning the illogical, concerning people.

Older, she grew less curious of crawly-things, more of people;
like winter searching for a teacher, weary of the sun,
for shadows linger longer in the night, finding no day.
Not quite frightened, yet suspiciously aware, she counted earth-
dwellers and found only one. She turned toward Spring,
not questioning, but demanding, I want to know your mind!

Child, birdsong said, the music of her mind,
to keep you young, and innocence repeating, people
I’ve kept from you; hidden away, down in the mud, said Spring,
If you like, dig it up, examine it, just don’t leave it in the sun,
you’ll know what you need, and regret you knew, another earth,
emerging from the shade, you’ll grow hot in this hate of day.

All the good things you slowly found will fade fast in day,
your new knowledge, inevitable, will redefine your mind;
first, you’ll blame the trees, then creatures, and me. Earth
is not your own, wicked-things will replace the winged-things, as people–
I know, she said to stop the tale, grasping it now, turning to the sun,
her shoes had grown too small, muddy. She said goodbye to Spring.

As the nurturing solstice let her go, Spring gave away its mind,
and it is true, come winter day, or blazing sun, rule number one:
Garden-goers are just people; born of the earth, thus, capable of evil.

Nicole Murchison earned an MFA from Sewanee: The University of the South. She currently teaches English in Oxford, MS.