A city-dweller lives in a bungalow with electric blue shutters and door.

Her name is Ocie.


Faded shirt and cut-off trousers flap on her withered body.

Snow-hills of cropped hair bespeak innocence.

Her clouded bead-black eyes seep wisdom.

Toothless hilarity crinkles burnished cheeks.

Decades of stooping bonded her with the earth:

nurturing plants on back porch,

encircling her home with riotous roses, phlox, daisies, zinnias, marigolds,

cutting back spent foliage, harvesting seeds for next season’s planting,

mating canaries in spindly cages and selling them.


Dusty curio cupboards house 4,000 salt and pepper shakers from road trips.


Yet a stroke froze her arm and leg, messed up her heart.


No matter.

Scratchy mutts and kids still find her backdoor.

Mating turtles thrive on her breadcrumbs.

Black cats shadow her dusty feet, dragging on kitchen floor.


From the kitchen window, her untended garden mirrors her wildness.

Within world laughter, she awaits the New Planting.



Note: This 87 year-old home care patient, named after her mother’s favorite soap opera character, taught me much during our 1994 kitchen visits. She still teaches.