The old woman next door would appear in
our courtyard with a hand broom of sticks,
dashing up and down the walkway
sweeping the rain each time it poured.
Sometimes I’d look up from the kitchen table
and there she was, waving at me as she ran
up the stairs to our bedroom. She took
everything she wanted. Even a scraggly
bush in our yard—one morning I found it
in her yard. Unbelievable, how magical
thinking kept me thinking I could garden
the marriage, until the man I’d married said
that woman had her eye on the unknown fruit
sapling I watered each week, and with shears
I snapped the thorny trunk in half.