Nature, Green in Tooth and Claw — David M. Harris

Horseradish is the hegemon of that low, damp corner.
Strawberries battle the weeds in their patch.
Catnip (a dollar a bag at the farmer’s market)
colonizes the Tennessee lawn.
Two tomato plants fight to survive under protective nets.

Sheep munched the sour apples
shed onto the Catskills lawn.
Ducks paddled down the brook
from the next house, where they lived
with the sheep and the retired butcher,
the cages of rabbits, the small pension.

The garden’s tumult rages, uncontrolled
by weeding, ravaged
by deer and chickens who,
unafraid of penned dogs, eat
seed and root and stem. Only steel
keeps dogs from chickens, chickens
from strawberries, Caesar from Gaul.


Until 2003, David M. Harris had never lived more than fifty miles from New York City. Since then he has moved to Tennessee, acquired a daughter and a classic MG, and gotten serious about poetry. His work has appeared in Pirene’s Fountain (and in First Water, the Best of Pirene’s Fountain anthology), Gargoyle, The Labletter, The Pedestal, and other places. His first collection of poetry, The Review Mirror, was published by Unsolicited Press in 2013.