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Since 1996 Volume XXI

Diane Lockward
Diane Lockward is the author of The Crafty Poet: A Portable Workshop (Wind Publications, 2013) and three poetry books, most recently Temptation by Water. Her poems have been included insuch journals as Harvard Review, Spoon River Poetry Review, and Prairie Schooner. Her work has also been featured on Poetry Daily, Verse Daily, and The Writer’s Almanac.


Hunger in the Garden


Dead things litter the grass—branches,

leaves, needles—last summer’s detritus.


Four deer nibble my rhododendron, consuming

spring’s promised blossoms.


Unflowered now, no burst of red and pink this year,

no sweetness of laurel.


Azaleas, too, surrender to teeth, to hunger’s

chomp and winter’s bite.


Winter consumes what I love and leaves

behind the wreckage of absence—


an inexplicable ache inside,

an unappeasable hunger.


Last summer a family of raccoons

emerged from the evergreens—


the father waddling in front,

mother behind with their child, his leg bleeding.


They ate seeds fallen from a feeder,

drank from the birdbath, stepped in and bathed.


Their fur sleek as seals’,

the mother nuzzled her child and licked his leg.


Days later the large one came alone.

I remembered the wounded child


and imagined the mother in a bed

of leaves, unable to move.


I want to believe in regeneration, that what’s

gone can return.


But only the deer come back, brazen and unafraid

when I rap the pane.


They stare at me, their eyes wide,

bodies poised, then strip away what is mine.


I want buds back on the branches,

you here in spring, your hunger and mine appeased.



© Copyright, Diane Lockward.
All Rights Reserved.