The potatoes he helped grow are slow to cook
Over the hot fire, as if reluctant
To have this final meal with him.
This gardener came here four years ago, wounded
By a life of chaos, bad dreams pushing him down.
This fenced place was sanctuary, the garden
Growing his soul, lighting his passions, teaching him to
Love the earth, his new life, then himself.
I stir the stew, blaming the smoke for my tears, realizing
He will fly soon into the world, towards his dreams.
The wounded boy now a man ,blossoming with promise,
New days bright and welcoming.
Waiting around the fire, we talk of this place, how his feet became
Grounded in new love for bugs and dirt, new seedlings of
Peace, growing into a teacher of tender young men.
He, healing souls, leading the way out of the garden —
So many saplings ready to be planted in fertile soil.
We eat slowly, savoring the stew, and the special dish he made
Just for us, his final act of kindness here.
Telling more stories, we warm our souls around the fire.
–Neal Lemery, October 18, 2016