Kurt Newton

The Happiest Poem This is the happiest poem in the world,because this is the day I die.It isn't often one gets a chance like this,a chance to reinvent oneself,to take what's bent and straighten it,to take what's amenable and make amens,to leave what's broken behind. This is the happiest poem of my life,because I get to choose this death,choose the manner of my execution,a bullet for each second guess,a guillotine for guilt,nothing will be left hanging. This is the happiest poem I've penned,because even the most wasteful deathbegets a new beginning,each drop of blood is a compass point,each tear track an avenue leading awayfrom where I've been,there is no shame in reclamation,only self-discovery. This is the happiest poem in the world,because I've looked at deathand found a reflective glimmerin the dark, calm, center of its eye,a lantern light to guide me home,a bright smile to keep me humble,a golden bed to rest my heart. My Mother's Garden When I was youngmy mother worked a garden,her long black hair tied up in a scarf.The garden attracted many things—bees and butterflies, dragonflies and beetles.My mother was often bent among the green rowspicking and pruningas the sun hit the heat hazeand lit the circus of insects that flew around herlike a halo. I was forbidden from entering the garden,my feet too clumsyto keep young plants unharmed.But one day I snuck inthrough the weedy section,unmowed, untilled,milkweed and Queen Anne's Laceup to my chin.When I got close, taunting "Momma..."I was shooed awayand ran, giggling, for having enteredmy mother's sacred space. I screamed shortly thereafter,discovering I'd run through a spider's web,its black and yellow occupantclinging to my pantleg, its fat bodyclamoring slowly upward,as if to punish me for the breach.I danced in place, afraid to touch the alien invader,until my mother was at my side,holding me as she gentlybrushed the creature to the ground."It's just a spider," she said.I cried, my tears wateringthe garden of her blouse. In that moment,there was not a thought as to whymy father wasn't there,disappearing when needed most.It would still be years beforethe house returned to the bank,the garden lost,the endless yard tradedfor an apartment in the city.There was only the warm sun,the insects floating,and my mother's eyes,kind and forgiving,and her gentle spirit,a far greater garden I eventuallygrew into. Kurt Newton's poetry has appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies over the years. You can find his work in Brickplight, In Between Hangovers, Cajun Mutt Press, Horror Sleaze Trash and The Wild Word.