In the shadow of the 520 bridge

The slick-black sheen of motor oil

escaping tarmac above swirls

a rainbow hurricane on the muck.

I tug deep bramble roots,

as trucks and hybrids ramble above.

Caustic exhaust can’t match the lift

of rhododendron’s fresh spring scent, but

mars the sweet aroma with a pinch

of nausea. The highway is

a streak of city-grime,

a line to divide this evergreen arboretum;

it becomes a haven to that emerald-headed duck

paddling beside my wheelbarrow. He knows

my sandwich scraps – his daily

snack – and my ear to hear his quacks.

Five years here and still the dull green gleam leads

me in. One trowel cut

reveals a crushed can of lemon-

lime trash but this time I smile,

for beauty here

lies deeper than mere soil.

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