#b#Weeding My Garden#/b#

by Kim K. Zach

I’m sorry, but I could not marry you

today. I was weeding my garden,

and the afternoon sun seduced me,

wrapped its arms around me. My bones,

brittle from the ice of your embrace,

began to thaw, and the warmth felt good.

Forgive me for leaving you to stand

there, alone with the eyes and whispers

of 200 thirsty guests. But I was kneeling

in my garden, caressing the rich soil

as it ran through my fingers. This luxury

began to cover my loneliness.

The invitation read Ceremony at 1:00,

Reception to follow, Regrets only. I regret

only that I failed to mulch sooner. Were you

aware that bare soil is an open invitation

for weeds to seed and take root? You left

me barren and disheartened, so many times.

Weeds are troublesome, sprouting up

where they are not wanted. For better

or worse, a gardener must be strong

and pluck out the offender. I apologize

for the inconvenience, I do — but I was

weeding my garden, rather than wedding you.

#b#The poet’s statement:#/b# I currently live in Omaha, Nebraska, where I work as a high school English teacher. I have been interested in poetry for only a few years now, largely because I was a speech coach and one of the categories of competition was Interpretation of Poetry. So I discovered many wonderful poems as I helped my speakers prepare their programs. Then I went on to sharing/teaching those poems in my classroom.

I actually began writing my own poetry about two years ago. I have taken a few online classes but also mostly have used a variety of poetry exercise books. One of my favorite is “The Crafty Poet: A Portable Workshop” by Diane Lockward. I’ve discovered that there are ideas for poetry everywhere. I enjoy the process of taking a fragment or phrase I might see in the newspaper or an image from my life and then turning it into a poem. After grading stacks of essays and research papers, I often seek refuge in writing poetry.

I first learned about U.S. 1 Worksheets from looking at Diane Lockward’s poetry volumes. In the front was a listing of each poem and where it first appeared. I went to some of the websites of those publications and submitted according to the style of poems I thought were typical.

Editor’s note: The poem above appeared in the newest volume of U.S. 1 Worksheets, published by the U.S. 1 Poets’ Cooperative in Princeton. For more about U.S. 1 Worksheets see page 19.

#b#Bateman Measure Establishing ‘Horticultural Therapy Week’ Signed Into Law#/b#

Legislation sponsored by Senator Christopher “Kip” Bateman raising awareness of the value of horticultural therapy has been signed into law by Governor Christie.

Under Senator Bateman’s SJR12 the third full week in March of each year will now be designated as “Horticultural Therapy Week” in New Jersey.

“Designating a week each year to raise awareness of horticultural therapy will hopefully expand opportunities for more people to take advantage of the many benefits it offers,” said Bateman (R-Somerset, Hunterdon, Mercer and Middlesex). “Horticultural therapy is a time-proven practice dating back centuries that’s helped countless people from children to seniors to veterans to those with special needs. I hope this week in March will now be filled with many events highlighting the importance and value of horticultural therapy.”

The press release was received May 11, 2015.

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