The Gardener's Theory of Cultivation

By Garrett Ashley

Our minds, diodes, electrodes, operate within the cavity

Of metal torsos, sometimes the wiring in shoulders,

Arms, hips, copper and aluminum sternums.

Our skulls: empty shells, for looks,

Humans love on our lips, smiling,

And we plant their gardens:

Chrysanthemums,

Indian-Hawthorns,

Rows of recreated life, breathing entities.

Let us say for instance:

We open our skulls, pull out the emptiness

Where a brain should be,

Fill the dark cavity with thick, slick dirt.

What seed do we plant?

My answer: Eucalyptus Spearmint;

(Good for living and for breathing)

An idea of existential resemblance.

Sprigs of green leaves sprout from our flower-pot-heads.

They ask the well-built gardeners:

What is good for growing?

We say: Things that cannot be ungrown,

Growth that cannot be handmade.

The best of us water flowers,

Sift dirt and pollinate ovaries

With stiff silver fingertips.


Garrett Ashley lives in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. His fiction has appeared in Pank, Lore, and is forthcoming in Asimov's.

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