Poetry by Christine Jackson: Tea at Dawn, Gardener from Mogadishu, and Harborside

Tea at Dawn
She stands at the kitchen window
with a cup of chamomile
and appraises the yard
where her perennial garden thrives.

Michaelmas daisies form
violet starbursts with centers
like tiny suns.
Goldenrods arch into delicate curls
next to lavender clouds of chrysanthemums.

The window glass mists over with
steam from her cup
as a buck with a full rack
emerges from the air.
He bends and grazes
through her pink flowers of sedum
then disappears into the woods
like a haze of smoke.


Gardener from Mogadishu
Quiet sleep leaves
when the bombs come;
thunder drops to earth.
Run from fire,
untie the gate
of my cattle pen.

Run to the village,
find my family’s hut empty.
Rush past the village judgment tree,
where bodies swing from every branch.
Jump the rail fence,
merge with the bushes.

Running, foot sore,
always running,
down the hillsides,
across boulders,
through red dust swirls
from desert winds.
Rest only to crouch
in the scrub
under guns of soldiers.

I reach the river
of no safety,
cross over snapping jaws
of dark shapes underneath.
Swamp grass rips my legs.
I chew seeds and beans.

I wander
Nairobi streets,
ragged souled,
and wait for the mission
to find me
passage to London.

I build a cardboard hut
in a Feltham alley
near Heathrow,
and wait for the mission
to find me
passage to Atlanta.

Now in a Nike t-shirt
and shoes of rubber,
I crouch to tend my bean plants
in the church garden.
Around each new shoot,
I shape a pad of dirt
as a welcome to this world.
The soil is darker
And clumps more than at home,
But it smells the same,
rich, fertile, and teeming with life.


As the harbor’s brown surface rolls,
moored charter boats
moan and scrape
against an ancient dock.
A fish rises to nibble,
and a tail flicks the surface,
tiny, imperceptible,
less than one faint note
from a distant flute.


Christine Jackson
Christine Jackson

Christine Jackson grew up in New England and now teaches literature and creative writing at a South Florida University. That is, she is supposed to teach, but she probably learns as much from her students as they do from her. Her poetry has been published in print and online publications, including The Sandy River Review, Shot Glass Journal, Autumn Sky Poetry Daily, and A Quiet Courage. For more informaiton about the poet, visit: http://cahss.nova.edu/faculty/christine_jackson.html