The Meaning of Objects
Do not dismiss her garden’s plentitude, her singular yard—dolphins leaping, a plastic horse’s head, silly white girls with urns of treated water, arbors, arches, allées, the gardening fetish of aristocracy come again. Do not dismiss her radical appropriations, the culturally iconic in conversation with the vernacular, or her investigation of public space, privacy, and the markers of class. That a plain Black woman might speak back to Fanon— “I found I was an object in the midst of other objects—” and so shape her yard with Goodwill bounty, with the rummage of yard sales and alleyways, makes and remakes, from cast-offs and wrack, as these bodies, the stories say, are made from stardust, from the mud and lonely, lonely of the unseen. Do not dismiss her plantings: sedum for peace, pink roses for gratitude, the plastic ivies and plastic greens, I know I have to die but I don’t want to go before I have to, plastic and evergreen, and so denial, so hope. Or those private meanings, I planted that tree the year Daddy died, and the cedar planted on her daughter’s birthday. Old folks used to say Cut it and you’ll die too. Do not dismiss what she contained or tied back, or the field stones, heavy and red, set like fists around anything lovely.