Tending Garden at Twilight

Hetty moves under foot, tries to pick up eggshells dropped under tomato vine.
She stops to chew on lemon balm which lines the back of the bed. And lemon
balm spreads by flower, not by root like mint. I pick her up, escort her out, take
back the eggshell she gently holds in her mouth, close the gate behind. She paces
the lavender-lined walk, smarts over lost bounty. My neighbor, Nicole, watches
from her second floor deck. She waits for the new boyfriend with the new moon
in the sky. I can feel her eyes, a bewilderment at watching a man dancing around
tomato plants, balancing a small dog, carrying broken eggs. My artist loft is
across from hers. Both of us in apartments above garages. Our windows twin,
and if left open, the view and the sound render us starkly naked to the other. The
road sits above the drive, creating a kind of whisper chamber. Sometimes, it’s as
if she’s in the room with me—though it only accentuates the loneliness. I need a
summer fling or another chance at something substantial. This solitude is not my

J. Rogan Kelly

J. Rogan Kelly is a writer and an educator, including a former D.C. speechwriter and special education teacher. He serves as Associate Publisher with Serving House Books. His poem, “The Exploding Heart Technique” was recently featured in Diode.