Last fall,

Down on my knees,

I dug holes, put in bone meal,

And planted the bulbs,

Points up.


No one was there,

No one, that is, except the cow,

Straining at her tether

Until the drooled-on leather

Stretched, to see what I was doing.


And some of the hens

Had squeezed under the fence.

They lifted their yellow feet,

Tensing the tendons in them,

Looking cornerwise at me.


I kept on digging, planting,

Feeling the warm sun on my back,

Listening to the hens’ talk,

And forgot I had to hurry

Or Miriam would be home from church.


First thing I knew she stood there,

“What are you doing, Dan?”

“Oh, nothing much,” I said.

But now that she is dead

I’m glad she caught me then


And saw with earthly eyes

I’d planted tulips for her

Where she could have watched them

From the kitchen window

If she’d stayed.