Every night
every winter
they come
over the fence
around the gate
on the wind
illegal immigrants
seeking a place to call home

They have much to admire
persistent like feral cats
wanting to be accepted
and if not accepted
then tolerated
without surrendering
their wildness

Hardy seekers
they settle in places no
well fed
aristocratic springtime garden flower
would consider

Shooting up stalks
they stake their claim
long before the more
civilized denizens of the garden
Energetic early risers
they send down deep roots
and offer prolific seedings

Restless, impatient,
adventurous gypsies
wandering to the next flower bed
the neighbor’s newly seeded lawn
the crack of the sidewalk
the vegetable garden two blocks away

uncowed by winter’s freeze
late spring rains
or summer droughts
they persist
they maintain
they thrive

No staking
no pruning
no pampered waterings
they root
wherever they land
and cling to the tiniest purchase
in exchange for a place in the sun

And I
reluctant every spring
bucket and trowel in hand
wage ambivalent war
while they resist
with every upstart sprout
every peace offering
of sunburst dandelions
declaring their right to exist
and with each execution
whispering to me
“Remember sir,
It tolls for thee
It tolls for thee”

Marv Himmel

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