POETRY
Garden Tender
Shari Caplan
Writer of the Month

Imagine planting a garden. Imagine planting a garden of only yellow tulips. You love yellow tulips, the dusky smiles, stems’ green neutrality. Yellow tulips are your favorite. So mild.

Now imagine you live in the garden. You go out to work, to write, to eat but you live in the garden’s yellow. Your pillow is yellow and so is your mouth and so are the stars overhead. You love tulips. They shudder when you smell them. You have always loved tulips,

often think your left hand is a tulip. Forget there was a time without tulips, before you wore them wound around ankles. Tulips invade your memories, tuck themselves into cupboards and cameras. Yes, you cut them. One or two flatten under your boot. One night, you don’t come home and find they are white and cracked.

You cry. You plant more tulips. Still yellow. You love yellow. Yellow surprised you when you weren’t looking for a garden. It became your gloves, your window, your bedfellow, and your shoes.

You tell time by yellow. Yellow is your tulip, your chime, your ring. You take care of yellow and yellow takes care of you.

How succulent a red lilac smells.


Shari Caplan is the author of “Advice from a Siren” (Dancing Girl Press). Her work can be found at Zoetic Press, is forthcoming from Blue Lyra Review and Deluge and has earned her a scholarship to The Home School in Hudson, NY as well as a grant for the Vermont Studio Center. Caplan has worked on The VIDA Count, as a reader for Sugar House Review, and as co-editor of Soundings East. She received her MFA in Poetry from Lesley University.