To a Ring I Lost Planting Bulbs

You give me the slip between garlic and lilies,   
as if this is what comes of my unprotected   
loves, of my hands in the sweet earth,   
their willful miscegenation of the border bed   
where you’re tucked in deep with tulips, too,   
like just one more of their heart-freaks:   
a fluke diamondine flake, a thin vein gone gold.   
Being mine, you’ll grow up a girdled tree, girt   
with a ringed-around root, nothing like   
the fruitful vine of good wives—one of which   
I’ll never be so, my not-love-knot, you may   
as well come up instead like a kiss:   
the one wind gives to rouse the Japanese maple,   
October’s aerialist, its bright aureole   
in the last late sun a red mouth, opening.

More Poems by Sarah Barber