Out of the Garden, 2

by Kathryn Kirkpatrick

Nothing is sure. When we plant roses,
beetles arrive, burrow

in the blooms,
strip leaves skeletal.

We tap dozens into soapy bowls,
but they return as if from afterlives,

copper-winged, iridescent,
famished and over-sexed.

There is always another hunger,
another living desire wanting

what we thought we possessed,
improvident with need and driven

to devour every succulent leaf.
How shall we share ourselves

with this world? What can we give?
What can we keep?

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).