Words: Naomi Egan (she/her)
If this body was a garden, it would be verdant
Lush and exalting in green jubilance
Humid sweat and cheeks of clay-red
Watch how the vines tumble from my head
Rivers of hair, from mountaintops fed
Basked in sun, my Sahara tongue
Parched with warmth like a just-shot gun
Smoothed by streams where the water has run
If this body was paradise, it would be a vineyard
The grapes made of tears, my womb and my heart
The wine is so sweet; drink it, please. Be imbibed with this heavenly me
I’m no longer thirsty, my flesh is now free. I have so much to give
And ample energy
The harvest is plentiful, as is good company.
If this body was a haven, I would be at peace
A place where I cease the war on my body; and
Take asylum from bombs under leafy canopies.
The shrapnel dissolves into fertiliser; see
It nourish the ivy, the mushrooms and trees.
The flowers that slip between my toes
The opal dewdrops that bleed down my nose
The air raid no match for a home where love grows.
My garden is a refuge, void of regret
If the flower blooms wonky, no-one blames the stem
If the rain pours too heavy and I’m soaked to my skin
The soil’s lips stretch to a good-natured grin.
In this place where there are only sweet and gentle things
Where storm is mellifluous, wilderness sings
The rain chimes, marimba-like, when it hits my skin
The bullfinches breath; the day can begin
If the grass is bleached dry and the fruit browns and spoils
Unkindness may be drenched, deep in the soil
And blackbirds would chirp in fraught turmoil;
I water the flowerbeds tentatively
I wrap my arms around kind-hearted trees
I rustle and gather up the mulchy leaves
The garden shows its light to me
And paradise is what I see.