Late September in the Garden

I lower my head to their stems. Sometimes

I ask questions I did not know I had.

Sometimes they ask. I listen. I watch them

Open broad green leaves that follow the sun

And blossom a drop of water to say

Yes, the day was good—the sun bright, soil

Wet enough. I stand beside them, hands stretched

Above me, and wonder what I reach toward.

I see winter coming, feel the exchange

Of leaves for ice, transparent skin, a death

I want to believe is only sleeping—

That we will all return next spring, their roots

Waking in the rain and the mud, my feet

Feasting on the warmth of the opening earth.

Lucien Darjeun Meadows was born in Virginia and raised in West Virginia to a family of English, German, and Cherokee descent. He has received fellowships and awards from the Academy of American Poets, American Alliance of Museums, and National Association for Interpretation. Past Shenandoah contributor and the author of In the Hands of the River (Hub City Press, 2022), Lucien is currently a PhD candidate, volunteer ranger assistant, and ultramarathon runner in northern Colorado.