A. E. Stallings

Garden Findings

I found beneath the tangled stems and furls
Of peppermint, a string of seven pearls,

Perfect and translucent, white as milk,
Connected by a strand like spider silk,

Eggs of a kind—resilient to the touch—
And wondered what had left this gleaming clutch

Here on the brink of warmth, with August done.
I thought of lizards dazzled in the sun

Or brilliantly enameled snakes, and since
The autumn was already dropping hints,

I took them in, and kept them moist and warm,
And peered inside to see the future form

Cloudy in those crystal balls. The catch
Was when I watched the brood begin to hatch—

Two probing horns, then with a sort of shrug
Out silvered the liquescence of a slug,

Devourer I had fought all summer long—
And everything I’d cherished had been wrong.