• Vol. 07
  • Chapter 12
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By one account, the self is a garden and we are the gardeners. We water and weed, hoe and harvest ourselves, from ourselves. Look at you there, gardener, with your past and future pruned and suckered and splaying out only into the furrows of everything that is you. You are far away from the raised beds of uncertainty, because they do not exist for you.

But, gardener, consider it this way. If I am a garden too, then there are things I must admit. The soil beneath me is not my own, but has been tilled and turned by the moss-green, peat-brown hands of the dead. My tools too are not my own, but are on loan from someone whose name I no longer know. If I break these tools, then I must replace them, like-for-like, though I do not know if I could ever make them again.

You are happy it seems, gardener, and bounded by nothing but a boundless, sinless white. My form though is bound with the bent light of Sunday afternoons in early November, which does not exist for you. My garden has chiaroscuro and veg I’ll never eat and the humus of unoriginal sins. It is a burden, you see, to understand what I garden, and what gardens me.

Gardener, I am so unlike you, because I am not my own.