My husband can’t stop watching

the woman who can’t stop gardening

across the street. She's fortyish,

like me, but blonde, which is better,

and newly divorced.

“I've never seen her up close.”

No masking his frustrated lust.


She is distant,

but once, crossing the street,

she handed me a bunch of limp four o'clocks.

They'd take over a bed, she warned,

if I didn't watch out.


She's blonde. Did I mention that?

Loose-limbed as a teenager and lovely,

if you can forgive her eyes, focused

on a face more rare than yours—

lavender moonflower or bearded iris.

And she's passionate, judging from her spells

of ravenous pruning.


Hers is a jumble of a garden—

shasta, daylily, gardenia, rose, canna.

It flatters her house, its gables

and pitched roof,

arched windows that reveal

a huge rack of antlers and a caged cockatiel.


How could I not prefer it

to this solid Georgian,

its staid azaleas and family portraits

shot at three-year intervals?

There I could grow wild

and—who knows?—even beautiful.