Different Countries

We each are emigrants

from different countries,

tenderly invading

each others’ hearts.


This both frightens

and delights us at

different geographic points

in our respective life maps.


As one would expect

there are sometimes skirmishes,

even battles; monuments are

commissioned for all-out wars.


The question has become:

can our battle-weary hearts

sustain another tender invasion?

Frankly, I’m beginning to wonder.


I’m sure, in the end, it depends

upon a willingness to open our borders.


J. Eicher, 2017


When I Stopped Tending His Garden

His garden had requirements:

grit, persistence, strength, determination.

I’ve forgotten how many loads

of soil (or gravel, or rock) I moved

in the contractor’s wheelbarrow I bought

for him at a garage sale almost

25 years ago; he loved it.


And I figured on forgetting

the Latin names of his beloved

native plants–the low water ones–

the ones I never quite got right:

Euphorbia. Coreopsis. Hypericum.

But I planted and watered and trimmed

to his specifications each year.


Now the names come to me

unbidden but welcome. Small

surprises I didn’t know I still knew:

Salvia. Frittelaria. Nandina.

I walk and admire others’ gardens

as I pass, without tending.

I inhale their fragrance, and walk on.


Now my own garden blooms–

wild with whatever will grow

in this fertile soil of joy.

Friends also tend when I ask

for help and I revel in the

absence of strict requirements

and (especially) a wheelbarrow.