The 2River View

Zachary Greenwald

Present Tense

Tonight he carries
a dozen bulbs of crocus
and a half-moon edger
into the deep
uniformity of his yard.
He prefers to garden
after dark, to undercut
and fork with no sense
of where his knees are.
He works even after
the paper arrives, until
the surface cutout is reset
and leveled, each germ
tucked for a while into
the fuller ground.
He steps back
to throw a last palm
of bone meal over his world and now
he hears the rain.

What Passes

— after Leopardi

The old woman sits
on her disappearing steps
and sweeps her hand
toward a group of schoolboys.

Her gesture passes
like a net through the evening air.
Young and easy souls
who bend flowers into wreathes
and eat fruit unwashed still wave
to an old woman waving.

On this Saturday night she sits
as pleased as the girl returning
from noiseless prone fields
under the whitening moon.

Zachary Greenwald lives in New York City. “Present Tense” is a sort-of sequel to “The Sleepwalker’s Wife,” which appeared in the Summer 2006 issue of The 2River View. contact