Margaret Mackinnon, "Your Garden in Winter"





Here and there, a few remaining spots

of color, but mostly a landscape

of faded tones: streaks of pale silver,


a darker, purpled green—

You’ve planted the center of the plot

in winter rye, broad-bladed clumps


like cheerful, tasseled caps,

but flattened by the weight of last week’s ice.

Today the hoop house needs repair,


its vinyl spines splayed

under the onslaught of strong weather,

pried open like a cage.


No matter. You can fix it—

It’s no small thing, your knowing

what to do to make it right.


Jefferson said he loved in planting 

the failure of one thing 

repaired by the success of another—


And isn’t there an art to everything?

You pull a radish out of the cold dirt,

heart-shaped, striped like a peppermint.


The slice of sharp flavor you offer me

is the moon, already visible

against the washed-out January sky.



Margaret Mackinnon’s poems have appeared in a range of journals, including Poetry, Image, New England Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, and Quarterly West. Her first book, The Invented Child, was awarded the 2011 Gerald Cable Book Award, and was published by Silverfish Review Press in 2013.