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Sarah Kain Gutowski

What Has Been, What Cannot Be

The garden grows like my regret:

Spans of bed long gone to weed.

Old fruits that rotted then froze

now melt to clotted gold decay.


My hands lack the will or strength

to pull invasive vines or grass away,

so matted they sit like tangled hair

after the worst night’s painful sleep.


Spring’s chill insinuates itself

between my joints. There will be

no bended knee from me, no,

not even when the daffodils nod

their gaudy crowns, expecting

supplication. I cannot pray or plea

when everything is broken.


Instead I take the coward’s lazy path

and hide inside the season’s first

half-frozen rain, weeping for the loss

of what has been; moaning like

the trees, grieving what cannot be.

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Sarah Kain Gutowski is the author of Fabulous Beast: Poems (Texas Review Press), winner of the 14th annual National Indies Excellence Award for Poetry. Her poems have appeared in various print and online journals, including The Gettysburg Review, So To Speak: A Feminist Journal of Language and Art, The Threepenny Review, Painted Bride Quarterly, and The Southern Review.

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