Out of the Garden, 1

by Kathryn Kirkpatrick

When the Puccini aria soars
from the porch into the summer
garden where I bend over
the gold-centered leaves of euonymus,
and mounded veronica

it is not only Bocelli cording
his heart to Che gelida manina
in this bask of afternoon light
as the hummingbird blurs
past the long neck of the rose;

it is also the music you played
the night she walked in at dusk,
hair streaming, her face a fresh puzzle
of doubt and desire, Etava ella, fragrante,
me cadea fra le braccia

I spade compost, plant the Black Knight
Buddleia. Can the innocent know
what they have not lost? Already
a pale butterfly finds the dark bloom.

KATHRYN KIRKPATRICK teaches poetry, Irish studies, and environmental literature at Appalachian State University in North Carolina. She is the author of three poetry collections, The Body’s Horizon (1996), Beyond Reason (2004), and Out of the Garden (2007).