My Uncle's Garden
by John Valentine
Crippled, young, by polio he
dragged himself like an anvil
through early snap beans, peas,
corn straight and tall as health.
Strawberries coaxed with a trembling
hand. Staggered gait in the green
and steady rows. How he loved aphids,
even weeds. Unbalanced, he sometimes
fell for the tricks of his legs. But risen,
there was only laughter. Joy. How anything,
he said, could come from the fallen
is the greatest mystery of all.
Schooled at Mercer University and Vanderbilt University, John Valentine lives in Savannah, Georgia, where he teaches at a local art college. This poem was inspired by spring’s insistence to be seen all over town.