your mother’s friend
gives you a tangle of mint plants
eased from the ground
with their roots wrapped in a wad of wet paper towels
because it’s bad luck to ask for mint
but your mother has described to her
the empty flowerbed at your new home
and the time you have on your hands now

so you remove the paper towels
and put the wilted stalks in the dirt
and a few plants look like they might survive
by summer you’re happy to be able to pluck a few fresh leaves to chew

and you put other things in the ground
like a heavy rootball of peonies from your mother’s neighbor
a bucket of daylilies from your parents’ pastor’s wife
halved hostas from your mother herself
you mulch and water
and walk the bed’s edges in the evenings
wait through winter

then the following spring
the entire bed sprouts mint
around the peonies, daylilies, and hostas
that survived the rough transplant

and even though you are certain that the status of your flowerbed
remains conversation fodder for your mother and the women
you’re also grateful that they had other intentions all along