By Meredith Marshall Nelson
Charlottesville, VA, USA

We love to talk about the rain that makes a garden grow—
dismiss the dung that drives it from below.
We celebrate the sun in its sublime ability—
forget the flies and fungus feeding this fertility.

Wrinkle our eyes when we talk about flies.
Turn away from decay.

Perhaps we would have liked a god who stayed up in the sky,
who made each yellow melon never wither never die.
But in the garden God is in the mud beneath my toes,
to rot the fruit break down the root so something new can grow.

Watch Him descend again and again
below them all, to know them all—to grow them all.

A thousand daily deaths divide beneath my garden moss.
He made death matter when he died himself upon the cross.
And blood to monthly blood I bear with Him salvation’s yoke,
each drop a draft of life, a bondage broke.

The seed, the weed, the bloom, the blight,
cabbage, kraut, and dew and drought,
fear and faith spin round about
one day know and one day doubt
life caves in, new life crawls out.
The veils crack, the stone rolls back
the bitter cup is swallowed up.
Beneath the mound worms till the ground
and peeking out—a little sprout.