In May the lots of the big stores
Are decked with bags
Of mulch, soil, sand and gravel
Staked four feet high on rows of pallets
Surrounded by a makeshift fence
Of cinderblocks and wooden poles.
And there are plants and flowers
Pansies, tomatoes, roses, cucumbers
In pots on shelves outside the walls, dripping green
Workers, departing from normal duties
Spray them with mist from hoses
The walkway darkened under the spray
In the new heat you can smell the concrete
Smell the wet soil.
I carry a long prejudice against buying dirt
But I love the festival of it all
The color, the overflow of goods
Laying out in the open, no one stealing
The idea of planting, new birth, flourishing.
This morning, like every morning
I drove by the lot of the big store
And turned my head and saw
That the pallets were depleted, almost empty
And there was no worker standing by.
Did I blink my eyes and all of this passed
Without my knowing, without my participation
WIthout my anticipation, my planning?
What could I have been doing that was more important?