you can’t go back and pull
the roots and runners and replant.
It’s all too deep for that.
You’ve overprized intention,
have mistaken any bent you’re given
for control. You thought you chose
the bean and chose the soil.
You even thought you abandoned
one or two gardens. But those things
keep growing where we put them—
if we put them at all.
A certain kind of Eden holds us thrall.
Even the one vine that tendrils out alone
in time turns on its own impulse,
twisting back down its upward course
a strong and then a stronger rope,
the greenest saddest strongest
kind of hope.
* * * * *
Kay Ryan is the author of several books of poetry, including Flamingo Watching (2006), The Niagara River (2005), and Say Uncle (2000). Her book The Best of It: New and Selected Poems (2010) won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.
Ryan has won awards from from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Ingram Merrill Foundation, and the Guggenheim Foundation. She served from 2008-2010 as the sixteenth Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress. She was born in San Jose, California, and has lived in Marin County, California, since 1971.