Gardens Past the Atmosphere

Natalie Korman
Featured image: untitled © Donovan Wilkins 2019


I didn’t expect there to be flowers in space,
sheaves of rose-colored silk
and the petals of lemony poppies
gently folded back between the corners.
These are unexpected blossoms, the heat
of the bulbs, the way the cracks spread
on the surface of the planet.
The wide angle, the pulse, the vein of the stem—
all visible in space, all born in space.
The color of the ridges of a moon many light years
from here is the color of my bedsheets.

So much so that we came full back around,
out from the freezing darkness to someplace
which never left me, the home place:
a church across a field, a hill gently rising—
even this place, never lived in, always familiar—
the low stone wall, the oak woodland.
That’s the thing. The trees and the creatures as comfortable
as bedtime.

The only problem with today’s hills,
these brass sunsets and spindly horsetail and reclining slugs,
the only problem is that they are more foreign to me
than the cold nameless places,
more distant in my memory than any star
or any lonely floe of ice in the lightless sea.
I know to stand a chance
today’s hills need to be folded into me
again and again, their sides against my breasts,
their shadows on my neck,
to ever remind me that this
might at last be home.