Marisca Pichette writes about gardens and possibility. More of her work can be found in Strange Horizons, Fireside Magazine, Room Magazine, Ligeia Magazine, Enchanted Living, and Plenitude Magazine, among others. Her debut poetry collection, Rivers in Your Skin, Sirens in Your Hair, is forthcoming from Android Press in Spring 2023.
They say that memory is finite. Well, imagination is too. It needs refilling, revitalising, rehashing and spring cleaning.
Imagination is like a garden.
Selective, overgrown sometimes, and full to the brim with weeds. It needs to be tended and pruned, but maintenance goes far beyond the knife and shovel.
An imagination needs fertiliser.
I read. Reading replaces the
old ideas. It breaks the tangled
mass of rocks and roots, setting
seeds and sprouting shoots in the
Books are my plough, my rototiller.
Books are fertiliser for the mind’s eye.
When old ideas need a new bed,
pull out a new book. Admire a fresh
plot, a seedling of description. Tap
the tree of a new pen.
Without the time, you
cannot read. But if there’s
no time to read, to
research, to broaden your
view—what is there
Don’t let the weeds grow
where they’re unwelcome.
Fertilise your mind. And if
this “hobby” is thought too
frivolous—if you’re urged
instead to work…
Tell them it’s a study.
You’re pursuing fieldwork.
Black stream, in the night.
Rolling muscles over pebble bones,
sinews catch the light—
trickling through neglected space.
A flickering oasis
within this littered human
Occasional clots of foam,
blood cell leaves from last year’s fall
flow down along your rippling body,
Heading for the hunched shadow
Of stony bridge.
Crouching in the night,
the system busily works,
blood of ages carried through
a tiny stand of shrunken trees,
like so many twisted ribs.
So maybe I’m wrong but crows always seem like fall to me, like when they fly in huge groups, or murders I guess they’re called, and they come to your yard and land in the trees and on the grass and spread out taking over every inch until you feel like you’re in The Birds, a dream or a nightmare or National Geographic and you try to take a picture but there are so many that you just have to write about it because no one will believe you and it’s incredible and I’ve been waiting years for it to happen again but stuff like that, it only happens once.
So I just have a grainy picture from 2010 and a few words knocking around my head.
I always thought they were fall things but maybe that was spring? The grass was green after all, but it was misty and that added to the magic or the nightmare or the illusion of thousands and thousands of crows, each putting one claw down where it didn’t belong and claiming it for its own like a cat,
like my cat when she decides that this box is hers, and whenever I have to move anything outside she knows and she sits on it and that’s what crows are like: they take your things and they make them their own and you know, I could learn from that.
I could learn to share space with a seagull and bring fall into winter and bring spring into fall and toss them all together and make them mine.
So maybe I don’t have that picture anymore, but I have the memory and a memory is a map, a template to move forward and sit on the trees on the grass on the mist on a cardboard box before it goes outside
and I can’t reach it anymore.
Save a Day
Save a day for us.
After every blinding eclipse, when we weren’t
ready to see—
After every cigarette and each time
you stayed at that party—
After every cross-Atlantic flight
and every carry-on,
After you found scorpions and I
After we became far
and next to each other—a lifetime
in between, history spread-eagled
on either side.
After all you’ve been through,
all I’ve watched, listened to, wondered
how to save these minutes into memories.
After ethanol and printing ink.
After you told me where you love
After I told you everything—
Say you’ll come back into this world
we built in seventh grade and say
you remember when we were seventeen
and eating salads out of plastic bags,
counting croutons on our problems
and each day dealing out a new set
of the cards we played when we were just
for our lives
A word is such a fickle thing,
The poet just a pen—
A shadow of what came before
Recounting what has been.