Garden of Unease.

by Marissa Bell Toffoli.


The street cracks a smile, buildings for teeth
crooked, looming.

Can’t trust the horizon.
Shifting surfaces underfoot.

Spider, when the wind rocks your web,
hang on.

Cat, your hunger is too obvious,
gives you away before you pounce.

Oh! You are too tall to hide here.
These bare, skinny trees offer no cover.

Uneasiness will paralyze you.
Fold it up, pocket it.

Keep going.
Pretend there are no rules.

See what happens
when you wander.

There! A light has come on.
People are readying

to go about the day.
See them stretch?

Listen for the shuffle and creak
of latches opening and closing

on the millions of doors to invisible chambers
that fill these separate and intersecting lives.

Step street-side from the garden.
The flowers quiver with the weight of dewdrops.

It’s okay to look back as you fasten the gate.
The reassurance of a songbird:

Sometimes you have to remind yourself
how to be heart-happy and light upon wings.

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