In the night

It’s dark in the subdivision 

And everyones asleep but me.

The weather is warm

And the clouds cover the sky.

The killdeers sleep

The frogs croak

And I wait.

Near the back of the back yard,

Near the middle garden in a box,

Under the dead white birch

That couldn’t live in what used to be farmland,

Where grasseed was grown,

A gnome lives.

His name is Garlick,

He is a young gnome,

And he tends the garden.

By young I mean 50,

Young by

My standards, I’m nearly 75.

He remembers when the killdeer 

Lived here, and the young mountain lion,

Newly evicted from his den.

He remembers beaver in the Willamette nearby,

But mostly he remembers Greta.

They wanted to raise a family here,

Near the hyacinths thought to be tulips by the previous owner,

A man from India who worked for HP and had moved to Austin, Texas.

They had a fine Burrough made more comfortable with bits of fur and feathers, moss and lichen.

They had plans and they had history.

They had love and they had chemistry.

Gnome love is a tender and a wild thing.

But Greta was slain one night by Russell,

The neighbor’s tabby cat who was outside prowling the dark

Looking for, no, hunting for something to chase and catch.

He found Greta.

When he was through ‘playing’ with her she was gone.

Garlick found her in the morning, not realizing she had gone out to pee.

He couldn’t move. He couldn’t breathe. His heart broke into pieces and he wept for three days .

His friends came to him and helped him bury his love beneath the artichoke plants.

“Now what will I do?” he asked himself.

“Go on.” Said the Great Spirit. “She’s with me now. Part of everything.” 

It’s quiet in the night in my backyard. We have finished our weeping and moved on,

But with sweet, warm memories of our dear departed sister.

Thank you Greta for all you left us, all the love and memories you left behind in the wake of your blessed life.

We love you .


– Small town boy


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