When I was eight, Grandma Clara initiated me
in her wild side yard garden, a raised bed eye-level,

fronted by a composite wall embedded with shells
and colored pebbles the sun gleamed. A tangle of small

shrubs, annuals, biennials, perennials, bulbs, some in pots
on top of the wall, others in hanging baskets that swayed

above me. Amazed by all the shades and shapes of stems
and leaves, textures, and colors of petals. The sequence of bud

to bloom to seed. She’d say their names, some gifts from friends
who traveled—Mrs. Wong she did seamstress work for, who gave

her a parakeet. In the front yard she grew leaf lettuces near boxwoods,
pulled off a leaf for me to taste the tender-crisp, the sweet liquid pulp.