The wife says, “That never happened!”
arms tight across her chest.

Her husband sighs, catches my eye.
This is code: Yes, it did.

A tall man, he seems beaten
by these ongoing storms.

Their teen, the reason they’ve come,
shifts in her chair. “Mom, it’s true.”

“It’s not.” Mom’s eyes are closed.
Also code.

“Okay,” I say. “One at a time.”
After the session, I walk my garden.
A clan of purple irises, stately
beside the squat, ribbed hostas.

A patch of yellow yarrow above
a pachysandra household.

These outdoor families understand
the vagaries of drought, frost.

How rain brings slugs that tatter
their leaves. They accept the whir

of the weed whacker, its near misses,
as they do the gardener bending to pull

the faded and bruised among them
to toss on the brush pile.