White water lily rises above dark water

Spruce bough dark against light sky
just left by sun,
points its needle-y fingers.

Like palms on my shoulders,
turns me around to face where it arrows:
far overhead,
black bird alights in top of walnut;
highest leaf, touching pale clouds,
turns pink, tosses gently, playfully.

This garden is a gate
unlike the creaking plank-and-hinge
barrier on the alley
or the screeching wrought iron grid
that opens at the street. This gate
leads somewhere apart
from the traffic on pavement
that's at every side.

Green under, above, around.
Hydrangea blossoms glow white,
guard shadows where
birds hide,
squirrels skitter,
snail slides.

Scent of honeysuckle
vines smothering the quince.
Harmony of
endless cicada percussion
and a dove’s four notes.

Tickle of web filaments.
A clump of insect matter, inert,
rides a sigh of breeze.
The eight-legged one presides
where tendrils lead to a
broken lupine spike.

Mites silently glide dead
on currents the watering can swirls
in bird bath bowl.
In the pond an orange curl
that's not a fish.
Daylily bud rolling
to the bottom, drowning.

Circle on the pond's dark surface
where a spruce needle
drips a bead of the day's rain,

Welcome to my garden

I call this slice of city block my garden, but my friend refers to it as a bowling alley.

Twenty feet wide — just a bit wider than the house — and sixty feet long, it’s a plethora of flowers, shrubs, and trees bisected by a straight concrete sidewalk that leads to the garage at the back of the lot.

It’s squashed between the neighbors’ long and narrow backyards on each side, where low fences encourage conversation or a wave as someone heads to their car.

At dawn or dusk, though, this bit of nature is a different place.